Archeologists have found watermelon seeds and remnants of other fruits at 5,000-year-old settlements in Libya. Seeds are one thing, but finding pieces of the actual fruit is another, which is much more unlikely. Fortunately, historians have found paintings of watermelons in Egyptian tombs that date back almost 4,000 years ago. In fact, one of those tombs was actually the infamous King Tut’s tomb, which had a painting depicting a red, oblong watermelon rather than the ancient round fruit common at the time.
One reason why ancient civilizations kept paintings as well as real watermelons in their tombs was because of the water source that the fruit provided. When Egyptian pharaohs died, it was believed they had a long journey ahead of them and therefore needed energy and water that the watermelon could provide in the afterlife.
Watermelon did not always have its famous red hue on the inside; instead, ripe watermelon used to have an almost yellowish interior, sometimes even orange!
As time passed and farmers began cultivating the fruit for specific purposes, watermelon began to take on its familiar red color. Such a change occurred because the gene for the red color is actually paired with the gene that determines the sugar content and therefore the sweetness of the fruit. As people bred watermelons to become sweeter instead of bitter, they caused the color of the fruit to change as well.