Avery and Dakota
Rice is a tall annual grass that grows in a variety of conditions although it flourishes in wet, warm tropical climates. It is an ancient plant whose origins go back over 130 million years, hypothetically when South America, Africa, India, Australia, and India were joined in the southern hemisphere super-continent of Gondwanaland. When the continents broke up, a red rice of the species oryza glaberrima evolved in Africa, while today's dominant crop species, oryza sativa, evolved in Asia. People living along the Niger, Sine-Saloum, and Casamance Rivers began cultivating African wet rice around 2,000 to 3,000 years ago; archaeologists have discovered Asian rice grain imprints dating between 5,200 and 4,000 years ago in northern China, while Asian rice cultivation may have begun several thousand years earlier. It is believed that members of Alexander the Great's army brought the Asian variety of rice back from India, leading to its cultivation in the Mediterranean region, including Spain and Portugal.