The secret mission to unearth part of a 142-year-old experiment

Read the full story at NPR.

It was 4 o’clock in the morning, well before sunrise, and cold. A light wintry mix of rain and snow was falling. The lousy weather was a relief, as it meant even less of a chance that someone might randomly pass by. The small group of scientists didn’t want anyone to see what they were about to do.

They’d brought flashlights, a shovel, a trowel, a tape measure and an old map. The map looked more like a blueprint than a pirate’s guide to buried treasure. Still, it did show the secret location of something precious stashed away underground.

The researchers had gathered together to dig up part of an experiment: an unusual long-term experiment that started in 1879 on the campus of what is now Michigan State University.

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