(Photo: HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images
(Photo: HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images

Watermelons used to look very different to how they do today, as a 17th century painting by Giovanni Stanchi shows.

In the painting the fruit is cut open, and its appearance is markedly different.

This is because the fruit was painted prior to the selective crop breeding watermelon underwent over later centuries.

While the older varieties of the fruit may have looked different, they are thought to have tasted similar to their modern cousins. This is due to a likely high sugar content, since they were often eaten fresh and occasionally fermented into wine.

Humans selectively bred the watermelons to have a larger fleshy inside with the bright red colour we recognise today.

Before the fruit was bred as such, the seeded, fibrous part was smaller and lacked the high amounts of lycopene required for an appearance akin to modern day watermelons.

More recently, we’ve been experimenting with getting rid of the seeds, so who knows, maybe photos of today’s seeded varieties will provoke the same reaction in future generations?

(H/T Vox)

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