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Moreover, teosinte encases each of its seeds within a hard shell, which shields the seed in the ground over winter.
In return, the plant encases the nitrogen-fixing microbes within pea-sized nodules along its roots and keeps them supplied with nutrients.
Volcanic ash just above the artifact-bearing layer is about 1.6 million years old, and, according to Dennell, the accumulation of silt and sediment that encases the hominid finds adds at least 300,000 years to that date.