A group of scientists have been able to re-germinate a tree that everyone once thought was extinct.
The Judean date palm was a huge staple three thousand years ago. The tree provided food, shelter and shade for the people then. The tree was even mentioned in the Old Testament several times.
Unfortunately, as civilisation grew and times changed, the tree became extinct. Sometime in the 1960s, some excavations took place at the ancient palace of Herod the Great, when someone found a small clay jar full of seeds.
The seeds were kept in a drawer and basically forgotten until, 40 years later, in 2005, when a botanical researcher Elaine Solowey brought it out, out of curiosity.
"I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time,” she said. “How could it be?” She decided to plant the seed and to everyone’s shock, the seeds sprouted eight weeks later. And it kept growing.
The plant, which is nicknamed Methuselah due to its ancient age began to grow slowly but surely.
Since Methuselah was a ‘he’, it was unable to produce fruit. The scientists then decided to use Methuselah’s pollen to pollinate a wild female plant which is similar to the former and is still growing in the present day.
Soon, the combination of both plans yielded a batch of dates into the world — the likes of which haven’t been seen in centuries.
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Today, Methuselah is doing just fine and is growing well. The scientists are now hoping its existence and growth will help bring back the ancient Judean palm dates, which were valued for both their flavour and medicinal properties.
An absolutely thrilling tale. Would you eat the ancient date?