After considerable study, it turns out the seeds are wild ancestors of Vicia faba, commonly known as the fava bean. Fava is considered by the conservation organization Crop Trust to be one of the most important crops in some parts of the world. Fava’s health is a critical matter even in places where people don’t consume it very much: it’s the most effective natural nitrogen fixer known to agriculture.Nitrogen is essential to building nutrient-rich soil, but it’s quickly used up by cereal crops like wheat, which, when eaten in conjunction with fava and other legumes, provide an inexpensive, balanced diet to the world’s estimated 375 million vegetarians. Any crop’s wild ancestors hold important information about how to make modern domesticated varieties more resistant to disease, drought, and other devastating effects of climate change. But traces of a wild ancestor of Vicia faba, long presumed extinct, proved utterly elusive—until el-Wad.The six seeds, each measuring about 5 millimeters in length, were discovered by paleobotanist Valentina Caracuta; she published her findings in Scientific Reports this past November. Caracuta dug the seeds up from the earliest levels of an ongoing excavation of a Natufian habitation. The Natufians were a hunter-gatherer culture that inhabited the Levant (or eastern Mediterranean) from about 13,000 to 9,700 BCE.
The most sensational details contained in the dossier concern the allegation that Russian spies gathered compromising material, or “kompromat”, on Trump by secretly recording audio and video tape of his sexual activities in the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton hotel in Moscow. Such content is virtually impossible to prove, or disprove, other than in the unlikely circumstance that tapes were to emerge. A potentially more potent line of inquiry contained in the dossier that could yet cause Trump trouble relates to allegations that members of his team were in close contact with Russian officials in the course of last year’s presidential election over Russian hacking of Democratic emails that were later published by WikiLeaks. Independent reports suggest that US intelligence agencies were already investigating alleged links, such as those between businessman Carter Page and senior Russian officials. The president-elect’s spokesman Sean Spicer this week said that the president-elect “does not know” Page, even though Trump himself last March described Page as a member of his foreign policy team.
The story began in September 2015, when a wealthy Republican donor who strongly opposed Mr. Trump put up the money to hire a Washington research firm run by former journalists, Fusion GPS, to compile a dossier about the real estate magnate’s past scandals and weaknesses, according to a person familiar with the effort. The person described the opposition research work on condition of anonymity, citing the volatile nature of the story and the likelihood of future legal disputes. The identity of the donor is unclear.