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 here, here, and here. You can also read the formal announcement published in Science Advances. See photos of the ancient seeds and saplings below.
Stay tuned for more news on ancient dates (the fruit, hopefully).
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