Mystery date

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This might be old news to some of you, but it was new to me. In an amazing example of longevity, a seed from a cache of 2000 year old Judean date palm seeds sprouted in Israel.


I love this quote from the article:

“Perhaps one of our ancestors was sitting there on the battlements of Masada eating his dates while the Roman armies were preparing for the final siege and perhaps nonchalantly spitting out a pip,” said Sallon. “Two thousand years later, here I am at Kibbutz Ketura and it’s grown.”

According to the article, Romans called date palm trees Phoenix dactylifera (the date-bearing phoenix”) because of their ability to be reborn in the harsh desert environment where other plants died. Scientists who facilitated the ancient Judean date palm’s sprouting have dubbed the resulting seedling “Methuselah”, a fitting name.

Even if the carbon dating was not completely accurate, there’s no doubt these seeds were ancient by any standard. Pretty cool. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Mystery date

  1. Carbon dating is fare more accurate for “close” dates than for “far”. the relative ratios of carbon elements are more accurately known & therefore the dating is more accurate.

    I’d like to see if the taste is different. I noted that they planned on growing more trees but I didn’t see if they had enough seeds to make a self contained grove. Did you see anything on that ??

  2. I spoke to my grandmother and she confirmed the age. She was there, and she remebers that plant too. That old battleaxe… Enjoy the day…

  3. Allan, you made me laugh out loud…Loudly (much to Howie’s irritation, since he was busy filling out medical papers).

    Skip, when I did a perfunctory search last night, I just found more references to the same article. I hope they sprout a few more. It’ll be a long wait if the trees they get are male, and still a five-year wait if they’re female.

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