This Extinct Palm Sprouted out of a 2,000 Year old Seed

While dinosaurs may not be able to be brought back via mosquitoes, seeds can certainly survive the brutal passage of time.

Back in the 1960s in Israel archeologists were digging up the site of Herod the Great’s palace. What they unearthed along the way was a stockpile of seeds stored in clay jars from 2,000 years ago. The seeds were for the Judean Date Palm that’s mentioned in the bible but has been extinct since around 500 AD.

Since then the seeds have sat in a drawer at Tel Aviv’s Bar-Ilan University. In 2005 botanical researcher Elaine Solowey decided to go and plant one of the seeds to see if anything would happen. “Just for kicks” I guess.

“I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?” said Solowey. But she was soon proven wrong when the plant sprouted.

Since then the palm which has been thriving for the last ten years (and lovingly called Methuselah,) has produced pollen and has been used to germinate seeds on a wild date palm.


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