China the People's Republic of China, is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering 9,600,000 square kilometers, it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since China has expanded, re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin established the first Chinese empire; the succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements.
The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty and Northern Song completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and Horn of Africa. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution; the Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China established the People's Republic of China, a unitary one-party sovereign state on Mainland China, while the Kuomintang-led government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been one of the world's fastest-growing with annual growth rates above 6 percent. According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $12.24 trillion by 2017. Since 2010, China has been the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and since 2014, the largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity.
China is the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army and second-largest defense budget; the PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as it replaced the ROC in 1971, as well as an active global partner of ASEAN Plus mechanism. China is a leading member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, WTO, APEC, BRICS, the BCIM, the G20. In recent times, scholars have argued that it will soon be a world superpower, rivaling the United States; the word "China" has been used in English since the 16th century. It is not a word used by the Chinese themselves, it has been traced through Portuguese and Persian back to the Sanskrit word Cīna, used in ancient India."China" appears in Richard Eden's 1555 translation of the 1516 journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. Barbosa's usage was derived from Persian Chīn, in turn derived from Sanskrit Cīna.
Cīna was first used including the Mahābhārata and the Laws of Manu. In 1655, Martino Martini suggested that the word China is derived from the name of the Qin dynasty. Although this derivation is still given in various sources, it is complicated by the fact that the Sanskrit word appears in pre-Qin literature; the word may have referred to a state such as Yelang. The meaning transferred to China as a whole; the origin of the Sanskrit word is still a matter of debate, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The official name of the modern state is the "People's Republic of China"; the shorter form is "China" Zhōngguó, from zhōng and guó, a term which developed under the Western Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne. It was applied to the area around Luoyi during the Eastern Zhou and to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state under the Qing, it was used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia people from perceived "barbarians". The name Zhongguo is translated as "Middle Kingdom" in English.
Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China between 2.24 million and 250,000 years ago. The hominid fossils of Peking Man, a Homo erectus who used fire, were discovered in a cave at Zhoukoudian near Beijing; the fossilized teeth of Homo sapiens have been discovered in Fuyan Cave in Hunan. Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 7000 BCE, Damaidi around 6000 BCE, Dadiwan from 5800–5400 BCE, Banpo dating from the 5th millennium BCE; some scholars have suggested. According to Chinese tradition, the first dynasty was the Xia, which emerged around 2100 BCE; the dynasty was considered mythical by historians until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou, Henan in 1959. It remains unclear whether these sites are the remains of the Xia dynasty or of another culture from the same period; the succeeding Shang dynasty is the earliest to be confirmed by contemporary records. The Shang ruled the plain of the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to the 11th century BCE.
Their oracle bone script
Soil is a mixture of organic matter, gases and organisms that together support life. Earth's body of soil, called the pedosphere, has four important functions: as a medium for plant growth as a means of water storage and purification as a modifier of Earth's atmosphere as a habitat for organismsAll of these functions, in their turn, modify the soil; the pedosphere interfaces with the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, the biosphere. The term pedolith, used to refer to the soil, translates to ground stone in the sense "fundamental stone". Soil consists of a solid phase of minerals and organic matter, as well as a porous phase that holds gases and water. Accordingly, soil scientists can envisage soils as a three-state system of solids and gases. Soil is a product of several factors: the influence of climate, relief and the soil's parent materials interacting over time, it continually undergoes development by way of numerous physical and biological processes, which include weathering with associated erosion.
Given its complexity and strong internal connectedness, soil ecologists regard soil as an ecosystem. Most soils have a dry bulk density between 1.1 and 1.6 g/cm3, while the soil particle density is much higher, in the range of 2.6 to 2.7 g/cm3. Little of the soil of planet Earth is older than the Pleistocene and none is older than the Cenozoic, although fossilized soils are preserved from as far back as the Archean. Soil science has two basic branches of study: pedology. Edaphology studies the influence of soils on living things. Pedology focuses on the formation and classification of soils in their natural environment. In engineering terms, soil is included in the broader concept of regolith, which includes other loose material that lies above the bedrock, as can be found on the Moon and on other celestial objects as well. Soil is commonly referred to as earth or dirt. Soil is a major component of the Earth's ecosystem; the world's ecosystems are impacted in far-reaching ways by the processes carried out in the soil, from ozone depletion and global warming to rainforest destruction and water pollution.
With respect to Earth's carbon cycle, soil is an important carbon reservoir, it is one of the most reactive to human disturbance and climate change. As the planet warms, it has been predicted that soils will add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere due to increased biological activity at higher temperatures, a positive feedback; this prediction has, been questioned on consideration of more recent knowledge on soil carbon turnover. Soil acts as an engineering medium, a habitat for soil organisms, a recycling system for nutrients and organic wastes, a regulator of water quality, a modifier of atmospheric composition, a medium for plant growth, making it a critically important provider of ecosystem services. Since soil has a tremendous range of available niches and habitats, it contains most of the Earth's genetic diversity. A gram of soil can contain billions of organisms, belonging to thousands of species microbial and in the main still unexplored. Soil has a mean prokaryotic density of 108 organisms per gram, whereas the ocean has no more than 107 procaryotic organisms per milliliter of seawater.
Organic carbon held in soil is returned to the atmosphere through the process of respiration carried out by heterotrophic organisms, but a substantial part is retained in the soil in the form of soil organic matter. Since plant roots need oxygen, ventilation is an important characteristic of soil; this ventilation can be accomplished via networks of interconnected soil pores, which absorb and hold rainwater making it available for uptake by plants. Since plants require a nearly continuous supply of water, but most regions receive sporadic rainfall, the water-holding capacity of soils is vital for plant survival. Soils can remove impurities, kill disease agents, degrade contaminants, this latter property being called natural attenuation. Soils maintain a net absorption of oxygen and methane and undergo a net release of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Soils offer plants physical support, water, temperature moderation and protection from toxins. Soils provide available nutrients to plants and animals by converting dead organic matter into various nutrient forms.
A typical soil is about 50% solids, 50% voids of which half is occupied by water and half by gas. The percent soil mineral and organic content can be treated as a constant, while the percent soil water and gas content is considered variable whereby a rise in one is balanced by a reduction in the other; the pore space allows for the infiltration and movement of air and water, both of which are critical for life existing in soil. Compaction, a common problem with soils, reduces this space, preventing air and water from reaching plant roots and soil organisms. Given sufficient time, an undifferentiated soil will evolve a soil profile which consists of two or more layers, referred to as soil horizons, that differ in one or more properties such as in their texture, density, consistency, temperature and reactivity; the horizons differ in thickness and gene
In biology, an organism is any individual entity that exhibits the properties of life. It is a synonym for "life form". Organisms are classified by taxonomy into specified groups such as the multicellular animals and fungi. All types of organisms are capable of reproduction and development, some degree of response to stimuli. Humans are multicellular animals composed of many trillions of cells which differentiate during development into specialized tissues and organs. An organism may be either a eukaryote. Prokaryotes are represented by two separate domains -- archaea. Eukaryotic organisms are characterized by the presence of a membrane-bound cell nucleus and contain additional membrane-bound compartments called organelles. Fungi and plants are examples of kingdoms of organisms within the eukaryotes. Estimates on the number of Earth's current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which only about 1.2 million have been documented. More than 99% of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that lived are estimated to be extinct.
In 2016, a set of 355 genes from the last universal common ancestor of all organisms was identified. The term "organism" first appeared in the English language in 1703 and took on its current definition by 1834, it is directly related to the term "organization". There is a long tradition of defining organisms as self-organizing beings, going back at least to Immanuel Kant's 1790 Critique of Judgment. An organism may be defined as an assembly of molecules functioning as a more or less stable whole that exhibits the properties of life. Dictionary definitions can be broad, using phrases such as "any living structure, such as a plant, fungus or bacterium, capable of growth and reproduction". Many definitions exclude viruses and possible man-made non-organic life forms, as viruses are dependent on the biochemical machinery of a host cell for reproduction. A superorganism is an organism consisting of many individuals working together as a single functional or social unit. There has been controversy about the best way to define the organism and indeed about whether or not such a definition is necessary.
Several contributions are responses to the suggestion that the category of "organism" may well not be adequate in biology. Viruses are not considered to be organisms because they are incapable of autonomous reproduction, growth or metabolism; this controversy is problematic because some cellular organisms are incapable of independent survival and live as obligatory intracellular parasites. Although viruses have a few enzymes and molecules characteristic of living organisms, they have no metabolism of their own; this rules out autonomous reproduction: they can only be passively replicated by the machinery of the host cell. In this sense, they are similar to inanimate matter. While viruses sustain no independent metabolism and thus are not classified as organisms, they do have their own genes, they do evolve by mechanisms similar to the evolutionary mechanisms of organisms; the most common argument in support of viruses as living organisms is their ability to undergo evolution and replicate through self-assembly.
Some scientists argue. In fact, viruses are evolved by their host cells, meaning that there was co-evolution of viruses and host cells. If host cells did not exist, viral evolution would be impossible; this is not true for cells. If viruses did not exist, the direction of cellular evolution could be different, but cells would be able to evolve; as for the reproduction, viruses rely on hosts' machinery to replicate. The discovery of viral metagenomes with genes coding for energy metabolism and protein synthesis fueled the debate about whether viruses belong in the tree of life; the presence of these genes suggested. However, it was found that the genes coding for energy and protein metabolism have a cellular origin. Most these genes were acquired through horizontal gene transfer from viral hosts. Organisms are complex chemical systems, organized in ways that promote reproduction and some measure of sustainability or survival; the same laws that govern non-living chemistry govern the chemical processes of life.
It is the phenomena of entire organisms that determine their fitness to an environment and therefore the survivability of their DNA-based genes. Organisms owe their origin and many other internal functions to chemical phenomena the chemistry of large organic molecules. Organisms are complex systems of chemical compounds that, through interaction and environment, play a wide variety of roles. Organisms are semi-closed chemical systems. Although they are individual units of life, they are not closed to the environment around them. To operate they take in and release energy. Autotrophs produce usable energy using light from the sun or inorganic compounds while heterotrophs take in organic compounds from the environment; the primary chemical element in these compounds is carbon. The chemical properties of this element such as its grea
Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent, being behind Asia in both categories. At about 30.3 million km2 including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west; the continent includes various archipelagos. It contains 54 recognised sovereign states, nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition; the majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Africa's average population is the youngest amongst all the continents. Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, Nigeria is its largest by population. Africa central Eastern Africa, is accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade, as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors as well as ones that have been dated to around 7 million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster—the earliest Homo sapiens, found in Ethiopia, date to circa 200,000 years ago.
Africa encompasses numerous climate areas. Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities and languages. In the late 19th century, European countries colonised all of Africa. African nations cooperate through the establishment of the African Union, headquartered in Addis Ababa. Afri was a Latin name used to refer to the inhabitants of then-known northern Africa to the west of the Nile river, in its widest sense referred to all lands south of the Mediterranean; this name seems to have referred to a native Libyan tribe, an ancestor of modern Berbers. The name had been connected with the Phoenician word ʿafar meaning "dust", but a 1981 hypothesis has asserted that it stems from the Berber word ifri meaning "cave", in reference to cave dwellers; the same word may be found in the name of the Banu Ifran from Algeria and Tripolitania, a Berber tribe from Yafran in northwestern Libya. Under Roman rule, Carthage became the capital of the province it named Africa Proconsularis, following its defeat of the Carthaginians in the Third Punic War in 146 BC, which included the coastal part of modern Libya.
The Latin suffix -ica can sometimes be used to denote a land. The Muslim region of Ifriqiya, following its conquest of the Byzantine Empire's Exarchatus Africae preserved a form of the name. According to the Romans, Africa lay to the west of Egypt, while "Asia" was used to refer to Anatolia and lands to the east. A definite line was drawn between the two continents by the geographer Ptolemy, indicating Alexandria along the Prime Meridian and making the isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea the boundary between Asia and Africa; as Europeans came to understand the real extent of the continent, the idea of "Africa" expanded with their knowledge. Other etymological hypotheses have been postulated for the ancient name "Africa": The 1st-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus asserted that it was named for Epher, grandson of Abraham according to Gen. 25:4, whose descendants, he claimed, had invaded Libya. Isidore of Seville in his 7th-century Etymologiae XIV.5.2. Suggests "Africa comes from the Latin aprica, meaning "sunny".
Massey, in 1881, stated that Africa is derived from the Egyptian af-rui-ka, meaning "to turn toward the opening of the Ka." The Ka is the energetic double of every person and the "opening of the Ka" refers to a womb or birthplace. Africa would be, for the Egyptians, "the birthplace." Michèle Fruyt in 1976 proposed linking the Latin word with africus "south wind", which would be of Umbrian origin and mean "rainy wind". Robert R. Stieglitz of Rutgers University in 1984 proposed: "The name Africa, derived from the Latin *Aphir-ic-a, is cognate to Hebrew Ophir." Ibn Khallikan and some other historians claim that the name of Africa came from a Himyarite king called Afrikin ibn Kais ibn Saifi called "Afrikus son of Abrahah" who subdued Ifriqiya. Africa is considered by most paleoanthropologists to be the oldest inhabited territory on Earth, with the human species originating from the continent. During the mid-20th century, anthropologists discovered many fossils and evidence of human occupation as early as 7 million years ago.
Fossil remains of several species of early apelike humans thought to have evolved into modern man, such as Australopithecus afarensis (radiometrically dated to 3.9–3.0 million years BP, Paranthropus boisei and Homo ergaster have been discovered. After the evolution of Homo sapiens sapiens 150,000 to 100,000 years BP in Africa, the continent was populated by groups of hunter-gatherers; these first modern humans left Africa and populated the rest of the globe during the Out of Africa II migration dated to 50,000 years BP, exiting the continent eith
A coprolite is fossilized feces. Coprolites are classified as trace fossils as opposed to body fossils, as they give evidence for the animal's behaviour rather than morphology; the name is derived from the Greek words κόπρος and λίθος. They were first described by William Buckland in 1829. Prior to this they were known as "fossil fir cones" and "bezoar stones", they serve a valuable purpose in paleontology because they provide direct evidence of the predation and diet of extinct organisms. Coprolites may range in size from a few millimetres to over 60 centimetres. Coprolites, distinct from paleofaeces, are fossilized animal dung. Like other fossils, coprolites have had much of their original composition replaced by mineral deposits such as silicates and calcium carbonates. Paleofaeces, on the other hand, retain much of their original organic composition and can be reconstituted to determine their original chemical properties, though in practice the term coprolite is used for ancient human faecal material in archaeological contexts.
In the same context, there are the urolites, erosions caused by evacuation of liquid wastes and nonliquid urinary secretions. The fossil hunter Mary Anning noticed as early as 1824 that "bezoar stones" were found in the abdominal region of ichthyosaur skeletons found in the Lias formation at Lyme Regis, she noted that if such stones were broken open they contained fossilized fish bones and scales as well as sometimes bones from smaller ichthyosaurs. It was these observations by Anning that led the geologist William Buckland to propose in 1829 that the stones were fossilized feces and name them coprolites. Buckland suspected that the spiral markings on the fossils indicated that ichthyosaurs had spiral ridges in their intestines similar to those of modern sharks, that some of these coprolites were black with ink from swallowed belemnites. By examining coprolites, paleontologists are able to find information about the diet of the animal, such as whether it was a herbivorous or carnivorous, the taphonomy of the coprolites, although the producer is identified unambiguously with more ancient examples.
In some instances, knowledge about the anatomy of animal digestive tracts can be helpful in assigning a coprolite to the animal that produced it, one example being the finding that the Triassic dinosauriform Silesaurus may have been an insectivore, a suggestion, based on the beak-like jaws of the animal and the high density of beetle remains found in associated coprolites. Further, coprolites can be analyzed for certain minerals that are known to exist in trace amounts in certain species of plant that can still be detected millions of years later. In another example, the existence of human proteins in coprolites can be used to pinpoint the existence of cannibalistic behavior in an ancient culture. Parasite remains found in human and animal coprolites have shed new light on questions of human migratory patterns, the diseases which plagued ancient civilizations, animal domestication practices in the past. Organic molecules found in fossil faecal matter can be very informative about the producer of the coprolite, its diet, or the paleoenvironment where it was deposited.
The application of the faecal biomarker approach in archaeological sites has provided groundbreaking evidence in key questions such as the peopling of the Americas, the Neanderthal diet, the origin of the domestication of animals. The recognition of coprolites is aided by their structural patterns, such as spiral or annular markings, by their content, such as undigested food fragments, by associated fossil remains; the smallest coprolites are difficult to distinguish from inorganic pellets or from eggs. Most coprolites are composed chiefly of calcium phosphate, along with minor quantities of organic matter. By analyzing coprolites, it is possible to infer the diet of the animal. Coprolites have been recorded in deposits ranging in age from the Cambrian period to recent times and are found worldwide; some of them are useful as index fossils, such as Favreina from the Jurassic period of Haute-Savoie in France. Some marine deposits contain a high proportion of fecal remains. However, animal excrement is fragmented and destroyed, so has little chance of becoming fossilized.
In 1842 the Rev John Stevens Henslow, a professor of Botany at St John's College, discovered coprolites just outside Felixstowe in Suffolk in the villages of Trimley St Martin and Kirton and investigated their composition. Realising their potential as a source of available phosphate once they had been treated with sulphuric acid, he patented an extraction process and set about finding new sources. Soon, coprolites were being mined on an industrial scale for use as fertiliser due to their high phosphate content; the major area of extraction occurred over the east of England, centred on Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely with its refining being carried out in Ipswich by the Fison Company. There is a Coprolite Street near Ipswich docks; the industry declined in the 1880s but was revived during the First World War to provide phosphates for munitions. A renewed interest in coprolite mining in the First World War extended the area of interest into parts of Buckinghamshire as far west as Woburn Sands.
Bromalite Fecalith Fossil Fossils and the geological timescale Gastrolith Lloyds Bank coprolite Regurgitalith Spencer, P. K.. "The "coprolites" that aren't: the straight poop on specimens from the Miocene
Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima. As a cereal grain, it is the most consumed staple food for a large part of the world's human population in Asia, it is the agricultural commodity with the third-highest worldwide production, after sugarcane and maize. Since sizable portions of sugarcane and maize crops are used for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans. There are many varieties of rice and culinary preferences tend to vary regionally. Rice, a monocot, is grown as an annual plant, although in tropical areas it can survive as a perennial and can produce a ratoon crop for up to 30 years. Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labor costs and high rainfall, as it is labor-intensive to cultivate and requires ample water. However, rice can be grown anywhere on a steep hill or mountain area with the use of water-controlling terrace systems.
Although its parent species are native to Asia and certain parts of Africa, centuries of trade and exportation have made it commonplace in many cultures worldwide. The traditional method for cultivating rice is flooding the fields while, or after, setting the young seedlings; this simple method requires sound planning and servicing of the water damming and channeling, but reduces the growth of less robust weed and pest plants that have no submerged growth state, deters vermin. While flooding is not mandatory for the cultivation of rice, all other methods of irrigation require higher effort in weed and pest control during growth periods and a different approach for fertilizing the soil; the name wild rice is used for species of the genera Zizania and Porteresia, both wild and domesticated, although the term may be used for primitive or uncultivated varieties of Oryza. First used in English in the middle of the 13th century, the word "rice" derives from the Old French ris, which comes from the Italian riso, in turn from the Latin oriza, which derives from the Greek ὄρυζα.
The Greek word is the source of all European words. The origin of the Greek word is unclear, it is sometimes held to be from the Tamil word, or rather Old Tamil arici. However, Krishnamurti disagrees with the notion that Old Tamil arici is the source of the Greek term, proposes that it was borrowed from descendants of Proto-Dravidian *wariñci instead. Mayrhofer suggests that the immediate source of the Greek word is to be sought in Old Iranian words of the types *vrīz- or *vrinj-, but these are traced back to Indo-Aryan. P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar assumed that the Sanskrit vrīhí- is derived from the Tamil arici, while Ferdinand Kittel derived it from the Dravidian root variki; the rice plant can grow to 1–1.8 m tall more depending on the variety and soil fertility. It has long, slender leaves 50–100 cm long and 2–2.5 cm broad. The small wind-pollinated flowers are produced in a branched arching to pendulous inflorescence 30–50 cm long; the edible seed is a grain 5–12 mm long and 2–3 mm thick. The varieties of rice are classified as long-, medium-, short-grained.
The grains of long-grain rice tend to remain intact after cooking. Medium-grain rice is used for sweet dishes, for risotto in Italy, many rice dishes, such as arròs negre, in Spain; some varieties of long-grain rice that are high in amylopectin, known as Thai Sticky rice, are steamed. A stickier medium-grain rice is used for sushi. Medium-grain rice is used extensively in Japan, including to accompany savoury dishes, where it is served plain in a separate dish. Short-grain rice is used for rice pudding. Instant rice differs from parboiled rice in that it is cooked and dried, though there is a significant degradation in taste and texture. Rice flour and starch are used in batters and breadings to increase crispiness. Rice is rinsed before cooking to remove excess starch. Rice produced in the US is fortified with vitamins and minerals, rinsing will result in a loss of nutrients. Rice may be rinsed until the rinse water is clear to improve the texture and taste. Rice may be soaked to decrease cooking time, conserve fuel, minimize exposure to high temperature, reduce stickiness.
For some varieties, soaking improves the texture of the cooked rice by increasing expansion of the grains. Rice may be soaked for 30 minutes up to several hours. Brown rice may be soaked in warm water for 20 hours to stimulate germination; this process, called germinated brown rice, activates enzymes and enhances amino acids including gamma-aminobutyric acid to improve the nutritional value of brown rice. This method is a result of research carried out for the United Nations International Year of Rice. Rice is cooked by boiling or steaming, absorbs water during cooking. With the absorption method, rice may be cooked in a volume of water equal to the volume of dry rice- plus any evaporation losses. With the rapid-boil method, rice may be cooked in a large quantity of water, drained before serving. Rapid-boil preparation is not desirable with enriched rice, as much of the enrichment additives are l
Poaceae or Gramineae is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of monocotyledonous flowering plants known as grasses referred to collectively as grass. Poaceae includes the cereal grasses and the grasses of natural grassland and cultivated lawns and pasture. Grasses have stems that are hollow except at the nodes and narrow alternate leaves borne in two ranks; the lower part of each leaf encloses the stem. With around 780 genera and around 12,000 species, Poaceae are the fifth-largest plant family, following the Asteraceae, Orchidaceae and Rubiaceae. Grasslands such as savannah and prairie where grasses are dominant are estimated to constitute 40.5% of the land area of the Earth, excluding Greenland and Antarctica. Grasses are an important part of the vegetation in many other habitats, including wetlands and tundra; the Poaceae are the most economically important plant family, providing staple foods from domesticated cereal crops such as maize, rice and millet as well as forage, building materials and fuel.
Though they are called "grasses", seagrasses and sedges fall outside this family. The rushes and sedges are related to the Poaceae, being members of the order Poales, but the seagrasses are members of order Alismatales; the name Poaceae was given by John Hendley Barnhart in 1895, based on the tribe Poeae described in 1814 by Robert Brown, the type genus Poa described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus. The term is derived from the Ancient Greek πόα. Grasses include some of the most versatile plant life-forms, they became widespread toward the end of the Cretaceous period, fossilized dinosaur dung have been found containing phytoliths of a variety that include grasses that are related to modern rice and bamboo. Grasses have adapted to conditions in lush rain forests, dry deserts, cold mountains and intertidal habitats, are the most widespread plant type. A cladogram shows subfamilies and approximate species numbers in brackets: Before 2005, fossil findings indicated that grasses evolved around 55 million years ago.
Recent findings of grass-like phytoliths in Cretaceous dinosaur coprolites have pushed this date back to 66 million years ago. In 2011, revised dating of the origins of the rice tribe Oryzeae suggested a date as early as 107 to 129 Mya. Wu, You & Li described grass microfossils extracted from a specimen of the hadrosauroid dinosaur Equijubus normani from the Early Cretaceous Zhonggou Formation; the authors noted that India became separated from Antarctica, therefore all other continents at the beginning of late Aptian, so the presence of grasses in both India and China during the Cretaceous indicates that the ancestor of Indian grasses must have existed before late Aptian. Wu, You & Li considered the Barremian origin for grasses to be probableThe relationships among the three subfamilies Bambusoideae and Pooideae in the BOP clade have been resolved: Bambusoideae and Pooideae are more related to each other than to Oryzoideae; this separation occurred within the short time span of about 4 million years.
According to Lester Charles King the spread of grasses in the Late Cenozoic would have changed patterns of hillslope evolution favouring slopes that are convex upslope and concave downslope and lacking a free face were common. King argued that this was the result of more acting surface wash caused by carpets of grass which in turn would have resulted in more soil creep. Grasses may be annual or perennial herbs with the following characteristics: The stems of grasses, called culms, are cylindrical and are hollow, plugged at the nodes, where the leaves are attached. Grass leaves are nearly always alternate and distichous, have parallel veins; each leaf is differentiated into a lower sheath hugging a blade with entire margins. The leaf blades of many grasses are hardened with silica phytoliths, which discourage grazing animals. A membranous appendage or fringe of hairs called the ligule lies at the junction between sheath and blade, preventing water or insects from penetrating into the sheath. Flowers of Poaceae are characteristically arranged in each having one or more florets.
The spikelets are further grouped into spikes. The part of the spikelet that bears the florets is called the rachilla. A spikelet consists of two bracts at called glumes, followed by one or more florets. A floret consists of the flower surrounded by two bracts, one external—the lemma—and one internal—the palea; the flowers are hermaphroditic—maize being an important exception—and anemophilous or wind-pollinated, although insects play a role. The perianth is reduced to two scales, called lodicules, that expand and contract to spread the lemma and palea; this complex structure can be seen in the image on the right. The fruit of grasses is a caryopsis. A tiller is a leafy shoot other than the first shoot produced from the seed. Grass blades grow at the base of the blade and not from elongated stem tips; this low growth point evolved in response to grazing animals and allows grasses to be grazed or mown without severe damage to the plant. Three general classifications of growth habit present in g