Plants have evolved tremendously over the last couple millennia, largely because of humans domesticating them to make them all easy to eat and harvest. Basically all fruits and vegetables we know have been genetically modified through selective breeding, and Business Insider took a look at just how dramatically different these plants look from their wilder days. Some of the changes have been since they were first cultivated by humans, but some of these foods look quite different from how they did just a couple centuries ago. Here's a look at how unrecognizable some of our favorite foods were before their lines made the long journey to your table.
Selective breeding is a form of genetically modifying plants, but it's helpful to note these changes happened over a rather longer period than the rapid changes we see when modern GMOs. Plant diversity has declined tremendously over the last couple centuries, so while plants we know changed a lot due to human farming, we didn't really witness plant extinction at as quick a rate as what we see today.
1. Wild bananas.
The seeds would have been large and hard.
2. Wild watermelon.
This 17th century painting by Giovanni Stanchi reveals how much watermelons have changed over the last couple centuries.
3. Wild corn.
Corn started off a lot smaller than the sweet version we know today.
4. Wild carrots.
Carrots were generally purple until the 17th century, when Dutch farmers began cultivating the sweeter orange version.