Science/Tech

Scientists Manage To Grow Long-Lost Legendary Roman Fruit Tree

dates-1603127_1280
The Medjool date fruit is filled with vitamins and minerals, in addition to being very tasty. Photo by Pixabay (CC0)

By using modern technology, scientists were reportedly able to cultivate plants from date seeds that are over 2,000 years old, dating back to ancient Roman times.

Per the researchers, achieving this remarkable feat reveals that despite being over two millennia old, the kernels are still very much capable of growing thanks to its long-term viability, allowing scientists to study the longevity of plant seeds while also growing a historic Roman fruit tree that has been lost for centuries.

Studying Seed Longevity

According to the researchers, growing the date palm saplings today is starting to reveal secrets about the highly sophisticated cultivation practices that elders at the time (such as Pliny, Galen and Herodotus) praised both in writing and in song.

"The current study sheds light on the origins of the Judean date palm, suggesting that its cultivation, benefiting from genetically distinct eastern and western populations, arose from local or introduced eastern varieties, which only later were crossed with western varieties. These findings are consistent with Judea's location between east-west date palm diversification areas, ancient centers of date palm cultivation, and the impact of human dispersal routes at this crossroads of continents," the researchers wrote in their paper.

The seeds were reportedly found in an ancient palace fortress built by King Herod the Great and caves located in southern Israel between the Judean Hills and the Dead Sea. Led by Sarah Sallon of Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel, the team managed to retrieve 34 seeds that are thought to be the most viable. One was then planted as a control, while one was found to be damaged. The remaining 32 were then planted as well.

Per findings, six of these seeds then sprouted, allowing the scientists to analyze the sophisticated agricultural practices made thousands of years ago. The scientists also hope to find out how the seeds were able to retain their viability even after a long time because it can significantly impact modern day agriculture.

For now, however, the famous dates, which gradually declined in numbers after the fall of the Roman Empire, are back. At least, for science.

dates-1603127_1280 The Medjool date fruit is filled with vitamins and minerals, in addition to being very tasty. Photo by Pixabay (CC0)

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