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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Artist’s reconstruction of a new fossil species Hemignathus vorpalis (bottom), based on its probable resemblance to adult males of its genus: H. wilsoni (Akiapola’au, above) and H. lucidus hanepepe (Kauai Nukupu’u, middle). Illustration © J. Hume


Artist’s reconstruction of a new fossil species Hemignathus vorpalis (bottom), based on its probable resemblance to adult males of its genus: H. wilsoni (Akiapola’au, above) and H. lucidus hanepepe (Kauai Nukupu’u, middle).

Illustration © J. Hume

 

Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith in the field

Bruce D. Smith, PhD, is a curator of North American archaeology. His research interests include the domestication of animals and plants and the origins of agriculture around the world.


Human management of plants and animals brings with it an entirely new set of rules for survival than those that exist in the wild.

My research currently focuses on the study of ancient plant collections recovered from archaeological sites, as I search for evidence of when and where different plants were first domesticated.

Based on their larger size, for example, seeds found in archaeological sites in the midwestern United States indicate that Indian societies there domesticated squash, sunflower, and two other local plants about 5,000 years ago.

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