Above, the Quelccaya ice cap in the Peruvian Andes has steadily increased its rate of retreat during the last two decades that Ohio State University researchers have been monitoring it, the result of global climate change on the region. Below, a team member gathers samples of plant material recently uncovered as the glacier's margin retreated. Carbon-dating provided an age for the plants of at least 50,000 years. Photos courtesy Lonnie Thompson.
Below left, a photomicrograpy of the plant fiber showing intricately preserved organic tissue. Plant has been identified as being from the genus Breutelia, with modern relatives thriving now in Colombia. Below right, an even closer view of the tissue structure of the plant. Note the preserved cells still present and intact within the plant.

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