Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Older Dates

Now here's an odd one. Reports say that a 2,000 year-old date seed recovered from the famous archaeological site of Masada in Israel has successfully germinated. This breaks the old record for an old germinating seed previously held by a 700 year-old lotus seed recovered in China.

I have heard apocryphal stories of corn or beans recovered from Anasazi sites (probably about the age of the Chinese lotus seed) that have germinated, but haven't seen seen anything firm on it. There's certainly a lot of it around in cliff dwellings and dry caves.


Matt Mullenix said...

Regarding the discussion of catastrophe stories a few posts ago, I wondered as I read The Road whether anyone would mention carrying seeds. At several points the protagonist finds spilled grain and eats it, but he also surprises himself once by grabbing a bag of marigold seeds from a shed, no good reason.

With seeds' germination potential existing hundreds of years into the future, it is little wonder the planet's biome has been so resilient over millions of years and numerous fires, floods, eruptions, ateroid strikes, etc.

Phillip Grayson said...

And don't forget Melville:

"My development has been all within a few years past. I am like one of those seeds taken out of the Egyptian Pyramids, which, after being three thousand years a seed & nothing but a seed, being planted in English soil, it developed itself, grew to greenness, and then fell to mould."

Sadly prescient of his own fate, as if the metaphor determined it, as it did so much for him....

Matt Mullenix said...

Excellent quote