Ancient humans and modern plant diversity

PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES—Researchers surveyed 25 archaeological sites in the Bears Ears region of southeastern Utah between 2017 and 2019, and found that at least 31 plant species of importance to local Native American tribes were recorded at archaeological sites, despite being uncommon across the wider landscape; the findings suggest that ancient human transportation and cultivation of native plants influenced modern plant diversity, and tribal expertise for plant conservation efforts may help restore archaeo-ecosystems, according to the authors.

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A two-story Puebloan habitation in the Bears Ears region of southeastern Utah. Kari Gillen (photographer).

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Article Source: PNAS news release

*“Plant species richness at archaeological sites suggests ecological legacy of Indigenous subsistence on the Colorado Plateau,” by Bruce M. Pavlik et al.

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