Green in tooth and claw

Green in tooth and claw

Hard plant foods like seeds and nuts may have made up a larger part of early human ancestors’ diet than currently presumed, according to a new experimental study of modern tooth enamel from anthropologists in Arts & Sciences.
Switching tracks: Understanding photosynthesis

Switching tracks: Understanding photosynthesis

Chemists in Arts & Sciences have re-engineered one of nature’s solar cells to drive electrons down an alternate path. This work advances the understanding of the earliest light-driven events of photosynthesis and is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Plants model more efficient thermal cooling method

Plants model more efficient thermal cooling method

Patricia Weisensee, a mechanical engineer in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, combined properties similar to those seen in a lotus leaf with those found on rose petals to find a more efficient way for droplets to evaporate from a surface.
Chimpanzees more likely to share tools, teach skills when task is complex

Chimpanzees more likely to share tools, teach skills when task is complex

New Arts & Sciences research finds that chimpanzees that use a multi-step process and complex tools to gather termites are more likely to share tools with novices. The study helps illuminate chimpanzees’ capacity for prosocial — or helping — behavior, a quality that has been recognized for its potential role in the evolution of human cultural abilities.
‘Lost crops’ could have fed as many as maize

‘Lost crops’ could have fed as many as maize

For thousands of years, goosefoot and knotweed were grown as crops, possibly feeding as many indigenous people of North America as corn. But the domesticated forms of these lost crops became lost over the years, and now a Washington University in St. Louis archaeologist is trying to figure out why — and recreate them.
And then there was light

And then there was light

New research from Washington University in St. Louis provides insight into how proteins called phytochromes sense light and contribute to how plants grow. Biologists used sophisticated techniques to structurally define the sequence of events that support the transition between light- and dark-adapted states.
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