Popped Secret: The Mysterious Origin of Corn
This film explores the genetic and archaeological evidence that suggest that corn is the result of the domestication of a wild Mexican grass called teosinte.
Ten thousand years ago, corn didn’t exist anywhere in the world, and until recently scientists argued vehemently about its origins. Today, the crop is consumed voraciously by us, by our livestock, and as a major part of processed foods. So where did it come from? This film tells the story of the genetic changes involved in the transformation of teosinte into corn and the supporting archaeological evidence pinpointing this transformation to a particular time and place in Mexico.
The “Abbreviated Film Guide” provides a short summary of the film, along with key concepts and connections to curriculum standards.
An audio descriptive version of the film is available via our media player.
archaeology, crossbreeding, domestication, maize, Mexico, microfossil, selective breeding, teosinte
Beadle, G.W. 1977. “The origin of Zea mays.” In Origins of Agriculture, edited by C. E. Reed, 615–535. The Hague: Mouton.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS1.A, HS-LS3.A, HS-LS3.B, HS-LS4.A
AP Biology (2019)
EVO-1, EVO-3, IST-1, IST-2, IST-4, SYI-3
IB Biology (2016)
2.7, 3.1, 3.4, 5.1, 9.3, 10.2
AP Environmental Science (2020)
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Vision and Change (2009)
CC1, CC2, CC3