Scientists Discover 2,000 Year Old Seeds. Then They Grow Into Extinct Plant From Biblical Times


When 2,000 year old seeds were found buried in the ground, no-one expected them to be of any use today. But miraculously, one scientist has managed to bring back to life a plant that was declared extinct over 700 years ago.




With the food industry being so wide-reaching, it is quite unusual these days for people to plant their own food, or have an understanding about seeds. But recently the amazing resilience of plant seeds has highlighted by a researcher in Tel-Aviv.



The seeds were initially found 40 years ago, when archaeologists were digging in an ancient temple in Masada, Israel, in an area that once belonged to King Herod. 


They were shocked to find a glass jar which contained some seeds, but because of the obvious age of the seeds, they were deemed unfit for planting, and they lay left in a drawer in Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv. That is until in 2005 when botanical researcher, Elaine Solowey decided to give them a new lease of life.

The seeds were assumed to be around 2,000 years old, and Elaine herself was skeptical about whether her experiment would work or not. She chose a simple pot with some ordinary soil to plant the ancient seeds in. She said, “I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?”


Solowey is an expert in desert agriculture and despite her reservations about the seeds, was shocked to discover that after 8 weeks in the laboratory, the seed sprouted into a plant.

What came to life was a Judean palm that had become extinct in the 1300s, the palm was widely used in Israel for its multiple functions, for everything form food to shelter. 


The plant was given the nickname Methuselah, who was a biblical figure who was said to have lived for hundreds of years. It was hoped that the sex of the plant was a female, in which case it could have produced fruit to multiply, but it turned out to be a male plant.




Methuselah is now planted outside the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel. 



Solowey has given a recent update on the plant to National Geographic, saying,

He is over three meters [ten feet] tall, he’s got a few offshoots, he has flowers, and his pollen is good. We pollinated a female with his pollen, a wild [modern] female, and yeah, he can make dates.

Soloweys findings have surely given hope to the revival of other extinct varieties of plants, that may be brought back into existence if the right seeds can be found.






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Scientists Discover 2,000 Year Old Seeds. Then They Grow Into Extinct Plant From Biblical Times Scientists Discover 2,000 Year Old Seeds. Then They Grow Into Extinct Plant From Biblical Times Reviewed by C C on 16:04:00 Rating: 5
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