Everglade tree islands may be ancient rubbish heaps

Published on March 30th, 2011 | by Admin

0
island

The tree islands that dot the Florida Everglades may have originally been garbage mounds left behind by prehistoric humans.

Scientists have thought for many years that the so-called fixed tree islands (a larger type of tree island frequently found in the Everglades’ main channel, Shark River Slough) developed on protrusions from the rocky layer of a mineral called carbonate that sits beneath the marsh. Now, new research indicates that the real trigger for island development might have been middens, or trash piles left behind from human settlements that date to about 5,000 years ago.

These middens, a mixture of bones, food discards, charcoal, and human artifacts (such as clay pots and shell tools), would have provided an elevated area, drier than the surrounding marsh, allowing trees and other vegetation to grow. Bones also leaked phosphorus, a nutrient for plants that is otherwise scarce in the Everglades.

[Full story]

Story: Maria-Jose Vinas, American Geophysical Union | Photo: Crocdoc.ifas.ufl.edu

Tags: , , , , , ,



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Follow me on Twitter!   Subscribe to my RSS feed!
     
  • Question of the Moment

    History in the making. November 8, 2016.

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Like us on Facebook

  • Art Artifacts Bones Burials China Construction Egypt Egyptians England Food & Drink Fossils Humans Italy Medieval Remains Romans Scotland Shipwrecks Technology Tombs Turkey Underwater WWII
  • Archives