A few years ago, archeologists discovered popcorn cobs that were about 6000 years old.
Fossil evidence from Peru suggests that corn was popped as early as 4,700 BC. Believe it or not popcorn has been a popular snack for thousands of years. The very first corn domesticated by the ancient people of Mesoamerica wasn’t flour corn or sweet corn. They started out with popcorn. A few years ago, archeologists discovered popcorn cobs that were about 6000 years old. They think this high yield crop helped fuel the rise of the Aztec Empire. When you have a very highly productive crop like corn, it makes the rise of high civilizations possible. After a couple of thousand years, the Mesoamericans managed to cultivate varieties of corn that were good for flour too, but they still ate popcorn.
An interesting anecdote tracing the history of popcorn comes from a paleobotanist named Dolores Piperno, who grows a unique grain called teostine. This grain is dubbed to be the great-ancestor of modern corn. It has just a few kernels on each stalk, and they're too hard to eat or to grind into flour. But teosinte has a special property that makes up for these shortcomings and that is that it can pop. According to Dolores, all early corns were popcorns. Corn was first domesticated in Mexico around 9,000 years ago from teosinte, believes Dolores. A few thousand years later, corn was brought to South America, where farmers bred the plant crop into hundreds of varieties.