21 Feb 2012

30,000 year old seeds germinate

9:54 pm on 21 February 2012

Scientists in Russia have grown plants from fruit stored away in permafrost by squirrels more than 30,000 years ago.

The fruit was found in the banks of the Kolmya River in Siberia, a favoured site for people looking for mammoth bones, reports the BBC.

The scientists raised plants of Silene stenophylla - of the campion family - from the fruit.

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences they note this is the oldest plant material by far to have been brought to life.

The BBC says prior to this, the record lay with date palm seeds stored for 2000 years at Masada in Israel.