6 more 2,000 year-old seeds sprout to give “Methuselah” Date Palm a family

In 2008, Dr. Sarah Sallon successfully revived a 2,000 year-old seed from the extinct Judea Date Palm. This tree is named “Methuselah” and currently stands more than 11 feet tall.

An Israeli research team has now germinated six more date palms from ancient seeds excavated at Dead Sea sites including Masada and Qumran. These young plants have been named Adam, Jonah, Uriel, Boaz, Judith, and Hannah. Date palms have gender, so the female trees produce fruit when cross pollinated with male trees. Once the “Judith” and “Hannah” trees produce flowers, scientists plan to add pollen from Methuselah and revive these ancient varieties of dates.

There are several short articles on this and they’re all interesting. Learn how the seeds were selected and revived, and how they got their names. Read about it all herehere, and here. You can also read the formal announcement published in Science Advances. See photos of the ancient seeds and saplings below.


(A) Adam, (B) Jonah, (C) Uriel, (D) Boaz, (E) Judith, (F) Hannah, and (G) HU37A11, an unplanted ancient date seed from Qumran (Cave FQ37) used as a control. Scale bars, 0.5 cm (A, no bar size as unmeasured before planting). Photo credit: Guy Eisner.


Ages in months at time of photograph (A to C) Adam (110 months), Jonah (63 months), and Uriel (54 months). (D to F) Boaz (54 months), Judith (47 months), and Hannah (88 months). Photo credit: Guy Eisner.

Stay tuned for more news on ancient dates (the fruit, hopefully).


About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads informative, meaningful tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in Dead Sea, Israel, Links to interesting stuff, Masada, Qumran and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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