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Pueblo Indian blanket dating back 800 years was made out of 11,500 turkey feathers plucked while the birds were still alive, archaeologists say

There’s more uses for a turkey than the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving feast.

Researchers believe the flightless fowl held deep significance for ancient Pueblo Indians in the American Southwest, who domesticated the bird but didn’t eat it.

Archaeologists at Washington State University examined a 800-year-old feather blanket from southeast Utah, one of the few remaining examples of its kind.

William Lipe.

“The birds that supplied the feathers were likely being treated as individuals important to the household,” said anthropologist Bill Lipe. “This reverence for turkeys and their feathers is still evident today in Pueblo dances and rituals.”

Shannon Tushingham.

“As ancestral Pueblo farming populations flourished, many thousands of feather blankets would likely have been in circulation at any one time,” said Shannon Tushingham, a professor of anthropology at WSU and co-author of the study. “It is likely that every member of an ancestral Pueblo community, from infants to adults, possessed one.”

Surprisingly, the turkeys would have been treated more like pets or members of the family than dinner.

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Daily Mail

WSU Insider

Smithsonian Magazine

Todd Butler named interim dean of College of Arts and Sciences

Todd Butler.

Todd Butler has been named interim dean of Washington State University’s College of Arts and Sciences following an open, internal search.

Butler will begin as interim dean Jan. 1, 2021. He has served as a faculty member in WSU’s Department of English since 2003, including two terms as department chair (2012-2018), and currently serves as associate dean for faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences.

As associate dean for faculty, Butler has supervised personnel matters for the college, which includes more than 550 faculty across 36 different units in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. He has been responsible for hiring, tenure and promotion, annual and pre-tenure review, professional leaves, leadership and professional development, and joint participation in strategic planning, budget development, and enrollment management efforts. He also has served as the college’s representative on WSU’s Modernization Steering Committee and Fiscal Health Advisory Committee.

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WSU Insider


In 1991 more than one-third of Washington was represented in the Legislature by two parties. In 2021? Hardly any.

Washington’s polarized political landscape has long been seen in the results of statewide elections, with counties around Puget Sound reliably Democratic blue and those east of the Cascades solidly Republican red in votes for president, governor or the U.S. Senate.

Cornell Clayton.

“The urban-rural sorting has been taking place for years,” said Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University. Democrats have increasingly become the party of urban cosmopolitan voters and Republicans a rural nationalist party.

“In the suburbs, that’s where the battles have been waged,” he said.

Clayton agreed that the shift isn’t tied solely to Trump and his impact on the political landscape: “Trump is a symptom as much as a cause.”

As long as the parties are aligned with issues that speak to a voter’s cultural identity, it’s probably less likely that they will “split their ticket” between Democratic and Republican candidates, he said.

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The Spokesman-Review


Scientists discover new, simple way to classify marine biomes

Washington State University scientists have developed a new way to classify the ocean’s diverse environments, shedding new light on how marine biomes are defined and changed by nature and humans.

Newly published in Global Ecology and Biogeography, research by

Stephen Katz.
Alli Cramer.

Alli Cramer, a 2020 doctoral graduate of WSU’s School of the Environment, now at the University of California Santa Cruz, and WSU SoE Professor Stephen Katz revealed a new approach which sorts biomes based on their life-supporting potential and stability of the sea floor.

“This means that energy flow and mobility are common organizing forces across a wide variety of marine ecosystems,” Cramer said. “Despite their differences, coral reefs and deep-sea deserts respond to the same processes.”

The new method could help scientists, fisheries managers, and conservationists reconsider the richness and diversity of ocean biomes as well as the value of high productivity regions being impacted by humans.

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Science Daily

WSU Insider

AZO Life Sciences


Berry named National Jersey Queen

Natalie Berry.

Natalie Berry, Sherwood, Ore., has been crowned the 63rd National Jersey Queen. Natalie was presented the Charlene Nardone Crown by 2019 National Jersey Queen Gracie Krahn on November 8, 2020, at the start of the National Jersey Jug Futurity.

Natalie is a sophomore at Washington State University studying nursing and minoring in psychology. Her goal is to become a pediatric nurse where she can advocate for the dairy industry to children and their families about the importance of having dairy in their diets. This plays into her platform of “choosing Jersey milk products and other milk products to have a well-balanced diet.”

“Being a college student, I now understand the importance of having a well-balanced nutritional diet while not trying to spend all of my money on groceries. Jersey milk and other milk products have seven (7) naturally occurring nutrients that help to maintain a healthy body. College is a time of discovering yourself and where you would like your life to lead. Students tend to be influenced by those around them and this gives me a large audience to teach the importance that Jersey and dairy products can have on someone’s everyday life.”

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Morning Ag Clips

Hoard’s Dairyman