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Natural history seizes our attention and curiosity from an early age. Whether we are stunned by the remaining fossils of long gone dinosaurs or amazed by artifacts from ancient civilizations, we develop a strong emotional connection with this discipline.

Due to constant research studies, we continue to look in awe towards the new discoveries that broaden our field of knowledge. Keeping in touch with all the changes is difficult enough, so here are a few fun and interesting facts about natural history that you might have missed.

The American Museum of National History in New York hosts a display of one of the oldest complete skeletons of a single individual ever unearthed. It belongs to a 3.18-million-year-old female that the scientists named Lucy. Usually, the archeologist that leads the expedition can lend its name to such a discovery. In this case, however, the researchers chose the name of a Beatles’ hit that was immensely popular at the time. There are only five natural species of beans. Humans have managed to breed this plant into no less than 40,000 different species. This gives you a staggering image of the progress made in biology and gene selection over the past three centuries.

Before the Europeans settled the American continents, the people living there had no concept of man-made currency. The Aztecs, for example, used cocoa beans as a “trade coin” and records of that era show that a hunter would have charged you as much as 30 beans for a single rabbit. We are used to buy dozen-egg packs at the grocery store, and we’re fine with that, considering that domesticated chicken usually produce around 300 eggs per year. The wild chickens, however, only lay a maximum of 15 eggs annually. That is surely something to think about when you are cooking your next “omelette du fromage”.

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