TOPIC: worlds oldest tree seed to germinate
== 1 of 5 ==
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2008 7:22 am
Here is an interesting link about 2,000 year old tree seeds.
== 3 of 5 ==
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2008 7:55 am
From: James Parton
I just wonder how that seed kept from drying out over two millenia?
Or maybe drying out does not hurt it. Dehydrated. Just add water....
== 4 of 5 ==
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2008 10:12 am
From: DON BERTOLETTE
Just think, a 2000 year old date...
== 5 of 5 ==
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2008 4:13 pm
From: "Edward Frank"
Here are a couple of interesting links"
Arctic Lupine, Lupinus arcticus
This Arctic lupine grew from a 10,000- year-old seed!
In 1967, Canadian Museum of Nature staff proved that 10,000 year-old
seeds of Lupinus arcticus could germinate and produce normal,
An incredible series of events led to this discovery, starting in
1954, when Harold Schmidt, a Yukon mining engineer, discovered
rodent burrows three to six metres below the surface of the frozen
silt common to the area near Miller Creek.
Within the well-preserved tunnels he found remnants of a nest, dung,
a skull, a skeleton and about 20 seeds. He told a number of local
people about his find, and put the seeds in a dry place.
There they stayed for twelve years, until one of Nature's
paleontologists, Dick Harington, heard about them while doing
fieldwork in the area. He brought the tunnel contents back to
Ottawa, where he showed the seeds (many of which seemed perfectly
preserved) to botanists Erling Porsild of the museum and Gerry
Mulligan of the Department of Agriculture.
Dick Harington examined a lot of evidence and inferred that the
rodent burrows and their contents were probably about 10,000 years
old. Other research on the contents of the burrows revealed that the
rodents were collared lemmings, Dicrostonyx groenlandicus.
This discovery led to another question: since lemming burrows would
normally be poorly ventilated, leading to damp and mold, how could
seeds remain preserved in such a tunnel for 10,000 years? Dick and
his colleagues thought that perhaps a catastrophic event, like a
landslide or even a volcano, had sealed the tunnels in spring or
early summer before the ground thawed, leaving the contents frozen
and dry for 10 millennia!
The two botanists decided to see whether the seeds were still viable
(able to grow into plants). The best-preserved seeds were put on wet
filter paper and within 48 hours, they germinated! Six young plants
were eventually transferred to pots, and all of them grew into
healthy Lupinus arcticus specimens.
The germination experiment was as exciting for the botanists as it
was for paleontologists, because no one had ever germinated seeds
that old before, or even close. The previous record was for seeds of
the sacred lotus (Nelumbium nuciferum) that were a paltry 2,000
But sourdough miners aren't convinced that these were the first
10,000 year-old seeds ever germinated -- they think that a number of
plant species that grow from time to time in Alaska and Yukon grow
from ancient seeds brought to the surface by their mining.
Scientists think that these plants are probably "pioneer"
species, or species that grow on freshly disturbed soil.
Nonetheless, one species of yellow cress, Roripa barbareaefolia,
seems to occur only in placer mining districts, and only from time
to time. So who knows? Maybe the sourdough miners are right!
World's Oldest Seed to germinate
There are several documented records for the oldest viable seeds.
The most recent record (June 2005) is the seed of a date palm
(Phoenix dactylifera) that was discovered during an archaeological
excavation at King Herod's Palace on Mount Masada near the Dead Sea.
Nicknamed "Methuselah" the palm that sprouted from this
ancient seed has been Carbon-dated at about 2,000 years old. Since
date palms are dioecious, it is not known whether the palm is male
or female. Another seed viability record is the Asian water lotus (Nelumbo
nucifera) in which a seed from China was successfully germinated
after 1,200 years. But the world's record is the seed of an Arctic
lupine (Lupinus arcticus) that was excavated from a lemming burrow
in frozen Arctic tundra. The seed germinated and flowered after an
estimated 10,000 years of dormancy. The latter record was not
mentioned in the MSNBC Online Technology & Science article about
a 2,000-year-old date palm seed, so perhaps the 10,000-year-old
Arctic lupine is questionable.