Extinct Tree Grows From 2000-Year-Old Seed Found In A Jar

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CC BY 2.0 Wikipedia
CC BY 2.0 Wikipedia

This extinct tree grows from a 2000-year-old seed found in a jar by archaeologists and the whole world is stunned by how such an old seed is still alive and kicking.

This extinct tree is cald the Judean Palm Tree and once, it was the most recognizable sight for people living in the Middle East. It was widely cultivated all throughout the region because of its very sweet fruits and for the shade it offered in the desert.

Because of its huge economical impact on the region, when the Roman Empire conquered Judea, the trees were cut off to be used for building weapons, roads and buildings and by the year 500 AD, the Judean Palm Tree was completely extinct.

Ancient date seeds from Masada. Credit: Guy Eisner / Courtesy of Science Magazine
Ancient date seeds from Masada.
Credit: Guy Eisner / Courtesy of Science Magazine

This extinct tree has been brought back to life from a 2000-year-old seed found in recent excavations at the site of Herod the Great’s palace in Israel, in the 1960’s. Archaeologists found a stockpile of seeds in a clay jar, dating back 2000 years.

Four decades later, the Judean Palm Tree seeds were still in the jar, being kept at the Tel Aviv Bar-Ilan University, until botanical researcher Elaine Solowey had the idea to plant a seed from this extinct tree to see what would happen.

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“I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?”, said Elaine Solowey. Luckily for science and for humans that simply love nature, she was proven wrong and this extinct tree was brought back to life from a 2000-year-old seed.

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The Judean Palm Tree managed to produce its first flower in 2011, and researchers have their hopes set on bringing this extinct tree species back to life.

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