A well-traveled root: A vendor sells sweet potatoes at a market near Manila in 2011. The Portuguese brought the root to the Philippines all the way from the Caribbean.
Credit Courtesy of Caroline Roullier/PNAS
The sweet potato made three independent trips to Southeast Asia. The Polynesians probably introduced it in 1100 A.D. (red). While the Spanish (blue) and Portuguese (yellow) brought other varieties from the Americas around 1500.
The Polynesians had sophisticated, double-hulled canoes that were built for deep sea voyages. An artist aboard Capt. Cook's ship drew a picture when they arrived in Hawaii.
Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 10:15 am
When it comes to spreading food around the world, Christopher Columbus and his European compatriots get most of the credit.
Yes, they introduced some quintessential ingredients into European and Asian cuisine. Who could imagine Italian food without the tomato? Or Indian and Chinese dishes without the spicy kick of chili peppers?
Two chimps groom each other at the Save the Chimps facility in Florida. The National Institutes of Health owns about 360 chimpanzees that aren't yet retired and that are living at research facilities; new guidelines say most of its chimps should be retired.
The National Institutes of Health should retire most of its chimps that are currently living in research facilities, according to a working group put together by the NIH to look at the future need for biomedical research on chimps.
The group did recommend keeping a small number of chimps in reserve in case they are needed for studies later on. But it also laid out a detailed description of the kind of living conditions that would be needed for those chimps, and said any proposed research should go through a review committee that includes members of the public.
President Obama pulled out a surprise in his inaugural address on Monday. After barely mentioning climate change in his campaign, he put it on his short list of priorities for his second term.
"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," he said. Today the White House had scant detail on what the president plans to do.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Back in 1999, I went along with Robert Ballard on a radio expedition to the Black Sea, where he hoped to find evidence that what's now a vast inland ocean was once a small freshwater lake. A controversial theory holds that thousands of years ago, the waters of the Mediterranean Sea suddenly burst through in a flood that may have inspired the story of Noah.