Researchers said genes of a specific organism showed marks of an earthquake that happened hundreds of years ago.

What’s happening:

  • Scientists revealed in a new research paper — publish in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B last week — that bull kelp genes showed signs of an earthquake 800 years ago.
  • The earthquake had been “part of the ocean floor (that) rose upward and wiped out its inhabitants. That made way for newcomers of a different genetic background, the ancestors of today’s kelp,” according to The New York Times.
  • This could suggest that scientists can see major changes to environment by studying the genes of organisms.
  • The scientists said they wanted to see what happened to kelp after major earthquakes. So they took samples of kelp along a shore where there had been an earthquake 800 years prior. They reviewed the genetics and found differences in where the kelp had been collected. Those kelp that had been tossed into the air during the earthquake looked genetically different than those that hadn’t.

Read more about the study at The New York Times.