“This groundbreaking volume takes the cycad-human relationship out of the scholarly shadows. It will serve as the primary source for the importance of the Cycadales order in past, present, and future human societies.”—Dolores R. Piperno, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute  
 
“Moves beyond the narrow focus of agricultural, culinary, and iconographic studies and demonstrates the importance of cycads in these different systems. Both fascinating and inspiring.”—Andrew R. Wyatt, Middle Tennessee State University   
 
Under the Shade of Thipaak: The Ethnoecology of Cycads in Mesoamerica and the Caribbean is the first book to explore the cultural role of cycads, plants that evolved over 250 million years ago and are now critically endangered, in the ancient and modern Mesoamerican and Caribbean worlds. This volume demonstrates how these ancient plants have figured prominently in regional mythologies, rituals, art, and foodways from the Pleistocene-Holocene transition to the present.
 
Contributors discuss the importance of cycads from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including biology and population genetics, historical ecology, archaeology, art history, linguistics, and conservation and sustainability. Chapters pay special attention to the enduring conceptual relationships between cycads and maize. This book demonstrates how a close examination of cycad-human relationships can motivate conservation of these threatened plants in ways that engage local communities, as well as promote the significance of ancient and modern practices that unite nature and culture.  
 
Michael D. Carrasco, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and associate professor of art history at Florida State University, is coeditor of Interregional Interaction in Ancient MesoamericaAngélica Cibrián-Jaramillo is head of the Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics lab at the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Mexico. Mark A. Bonta is a geographer and independent scholar. Joshua D. Englehardt, research professor of archaeology at El Colegio de Michoacán, Mexico, is coeditor of Ancient West Mexicos: Time, Space, and Diversity.

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