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Sarasota News Leader August 23, 2013 OPINION Page 65 worldwide comes from very limited fossil records discovered at sites and in environments where bone could only be "pseudo morphed" into stone and thus preserved for the future. The unique properties of Little Salt Spring and Warm Mineral Springs actually preserve wood, cloth and bone as well as artifacts. Remains as delicate as insect wings and pollen have been found; they can even tell us about the climate and environment in which our ancestors lived. in ways whose details modern researchers are only just beginning to learn. We have found how these ancient peoples wove complex fabric, carved beautiful wood and bone artifacts, and fashioned some of the oldest jewelry in the world. For example, the two greenstone pendants discovered at Little Salt Spring are made from materials found at least 600 miles away, having been expertly crafted into jewelry around 8,000 years ago. Before Bill Royal's discovery of human remains alongside saber cat remains at Warm Mineral Springs, most accredited archaeologists believed that humans came to our area no earlier than 4,000 years ago. Warm Mineral Springs, Little Salt Spring and Nona Spring are the only constantly flowing springs south of Interstate 4, and they are hydrologically and geologically unique. These natural treasures continue to preserve humanity's story with their unique properties. Our inventive and artistic ancestors utilized all of the materials available to them to sur- Additionally, as only up to 5 percent of the vive and create a lifestyle that conserved their area of these sites has been excavated, they environment and allowed them to be part of it have so much more to share. % When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life. — John Lennon The Sarasota News Leader No-Nonsense Reporting

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