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What happened in the Cretaceous Period?

By |2018-04-21T11:56:37+00:00June 24th, 2017|Geology|

Volcano erupting During the Cretaceous period, beginning about 145 million years ago, the continents continued to drift away from each other, so that the mammals, birds, and dinosaurs on different continents evolved separately and got more and more different from each other. As the continents separated, the climate got cooler and rainier, and [...]

From honey to sugar – History of Honey

By |2017-06-22T13:03:48+00:00June 22nd, 2017|Food|

Beehives in Europe, about 1400 AD All through antiquity, honey kept on being very important as a sweetener, a preservative, and a medicine throughout Africa, Europe, and Asia. Wax was used for candles and to seal things. But by around 350 AD, Indian scientists figured out how to make cane sugar into lump [...]

Honey spreads around the world – Bee keeping

By |2018-12-10T17:04:43+00:00June 22nd, 2017|Food|

Bee-keeping reaches West Asia: a wax writing tablet from Uluburun shipwreck off the coast of modern Turkey (1300 BC) Bee-keeping reaches the Eastern Mediterranean By 2400 BC, people were keeping bees in hives in Egypt, but nobody was keeping bees anywhere else in the world. Bee-keeping took thousands of years to spread around [...]

Where do almonds come from? West Asian food

By |2018-04-16T12:29:37+00:00June 20th, 2017|Food|

Almonds drying after harvest (Southern Spain) Wild almonds are related to peaches and apples. Almonds probably evolved about the same time, around five million years ago. Like peach trees and apple trees, almond trees made cyanide poison. That kept sheep and goats and rabbits from eating their fruit. Peach trees grew in East Asia (China), [...]

Food in ancient China – rice and tea

By |2018-05-27T14:21:06+00:00June 6th, 2017|China, Food|

Chinese food Chinese food: rice When you think of Chinese food you think of rice, and rice was the first grain that people farmed in China. There is archaeological evidence of rice farming along the Yang-tse River by about 6000 BC. (Read more about the history of rice) People cooked rice by boiling [...]

Looking at flowers – Angiosperms project – Biology

By |2018-04-16T10:36:08+00:00May 30th, 2017|Biology|

Daffodil with petals and pistil in the middle. Take a long walk around your neighborhood and the park in the late spring and look at all the flowers you see. Can you find ten different kinds of flowers? What does each of these flowers do to attract bees? Is it their color? Their [...]

Flowering plants – Evolution and Biology

By |2017-05-30T09:44:04+00:00May 30th, 2017|Biology|

Lavender flowers smell wonderful! For millions of years, the Earth was covered with ferns and pine trees and moss and mushrooms, without any flowers, grass, or fruit. But about 120 million years ago, in the Cretaceous period, some of these pine trees developed a new way to scatter their seeds that turned out to [...]

Seeds – Plant reproduction – Biology

By |2018-04-13T17:51:52+00:00May 30th, 2017|Biology|

Evolution of seeds: Dandelion seeds What is a seed? A seed is the egg cell of a plant, with a hard wrapper around it so it can survive on its own. The earliest plants with seeds evolved from plants with spores during the late Devonian period, about 360 million years ago. The seeds [...]

Spiders and their Webs – Biology

By |2017-09-16T18:40:57+00:00May 25th, 2017|Biology|

Fossil spider from the Cretaceous era Spiders evolved from annelid worms beginning about 540 million years ago. They were among the first land creatures with more than one cell. At about the same time, the first bigger land animals began to come out of the water: frogs and salamanders. These ate spiders. The earliest evidence of an orb [...]