This is Scientific American's 60-second Science, I'm Susanne Bard.Pieter Bruegel's iconic 1565 painting The Harvesters hangs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.The work depicts peasants cutting stalks of wheat nearly as tall as they are."Nowadays, if you walk through a wheat field, you basically see that wheat is about knee-height.The short stature is essentially a consequence of breeding from the second half of the 20th century."University of Ghent biologist Ive De Smet.Selective breeding favored genes for reduced height, because they came along with genes for increasing yields to feed a growing population.De Smet says wheat is just one example of how historical artwork can allow us to track the transformation of food crops over time.He teamed up with art historian David Vergauwen of Amarant to catalogue such artwork around the world."We have been mainly looking at things where we kind of can spot changes in shape, in color, in size."Friends since childhood, their interest in plants in artwork began with a visit to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia―where they noticed an odd-looking watermelon in an early-17th-century painting by Flemish artist Frans Snyders."So if you think of a watermelon, you cut it through, it should be dark red on the inside. But that one appeared to be pale and white."Biologist De Smet assumed the painter had done a poor job. But art historian Vergauwen had a different idea.