Wildflowers may have flourished during Ice Age, research finds

02/07/2014 2:41 PM

02/07/2014 2:42 PM

Ice Age landscapes included an unlikely sight, according to new research – wildflowers everywhere.

A study in the journal Nature, which includes contributions from many researchers including Kansas State University’s assistant professor of biology Joseph Craine, suggests the wildflowers were a regular item in the diets of woolly mammoths, ancient horses and other grazing animals.

For the study, researchers collected DNA samples from the guts of frozen ice age mammoths, bison, horses and rhinoceros, according to a prepared statement from Kansas State University. The researchers studied the materials at the molecular level and figured out what plant species the animals were eating.

Over time, according to the prepared statement, the Ice Age plant life changed more to mosses and bogs, both from climate change and stress caused by grazing.

Studying the past like this gives clues about how animal and plant life, as well as landscapes, adapt to climate change and stress, the KSU statement said.

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

The Wichita Eagle is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service