NEW MEXICO The people who built the stone walls are believed to be the ancestors of modern Pueblo Indians, gone for hundreds of years from what is now the monument. But they left their calling cards on Bandelier's mesas and canyons - stones that once were walls; shards of pottery that once held food or water; arrowheads once aimed at game; obsidian flakes from the tools they fashioned.

ARIZONA Many important desert plants are used for fibers for Tohono O'odham baskets. In the O'odham, Pima, and Maricopa nation's cultures, the sky is filled with constellations named for the important things in their lives and their traditional stories. The constellation known as Orion in standard astronomy is a mountain sheep to the O'odham.

CYBERIA The National Trust for Historic Preservation is celebrating 50 years of preservation success by bringing to Washington one of the largest gatherings of preservationists ever for a national conference. From October 19 through October 24, roughly 3,000 preservationists will take part in more than 100 field sessions, using historic Washington as a living laboratory. For more information, visit the National Trust's Web site at A tiny seed can open windows into the past, at least for an archeologist with knowledge of paleoethnobotany, the study of human interactions with plants. Steve Weber, a Washington State University associate professor at Vancouver, is one of those archeologists. Identifying the carbonized seeds is the first step toward assembling this cultural puzzle. Weber isolates the seeds by "floating" the soil with water at the excavation sites. Everything organic, including carbonized seeds, floats to the top. The skeleton, found in the Tugen Hills of north central Kenya, is complete enough to shed light on the links between early apes and modern apes and humans. It is the first from around that time to include both teeth and skull fragments.,2107,86211-136157-950244-0,00.html The fossilized partial skeleton of the animal is distinctly different from other ancient apes, prompting researcher Steve Ward and his colleagues to identify it as the only member of a new ape genus they call Equatorius. Equatorius' exact relationship to later apes is still uncertain at this point, but the genus generally fits the description of a "stem hominoid", one of a cluster of species positioned somewhere on the evolutionary ladder near the origins of the ape group. Stem hominoids are considered too primitive to be the direct ancestors of modern apes and humans.