Scientists grow a palm tree from extinct tree’s unearthed seeds

This is pretty amazing. In the 1960’s, Archaeologists while excavating at the site of Herod the Great’s palace in Israel, stumbled upon a large amount of seeds for the Judean date palm tree. This palm tree has been extinct since 500 AD.

For decades the seeds remained hidden away in a drawer at Tel Aviv’s Bar-Ilan University. In 2005, scientist Elaine Solowey decided to plant the seeds. And low and behold, the palm tree began to grow. “I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?” said Solowey. She was soon proven wrong. And in 2011, the palm tree even began to thrive and flower.

Judean Date Palm Tree

Some history on the Judean date palm trees, from Tree Hugger:

From its founding some 3,000 years ago, to the dawn of the Common Era, the trees became a staple crop in the Kingdom of Judea, even garnering several shout-outs in the Old Testament. Judean palm trees would come to serve as one of the kingdom’s chief symbols of good fortune; King David named his daughter, Tamar, after the plant’s name in Hebrew.

By the time the Roman Empire sought to usurp control of the kingdom in 70 AD, broad forests of these trees flourished as a staple crop to the Judean economy — a fact that made them a prime resource for the invading army to destroy. Sadly, around the year 500 AD, the once plentiful palm had been completely wiped out, driven to extinction for the sake of conquest.