Seeds Buried 30,000 Years Ago Now Growing (Video)

Can you believe this, seeds from a plant that was buried by squirrels (I kid you not πŸ™‚ ) 30,000 years ago, was found in burrows of the Arctic ground squirrels in Siberia. I know it sounds a bit out there, but let me tell you a bit about the Arctic ground squirrel first.

Spermophilus parryii English: An Arctic Ground...

Image via Wikipedia

This squirrel is found not only in the Arctic Circle but also in Northern Canada, Alaska, British Columbia and Siberia. They are about 39 cm or 15 inches, the males are slightly bigger. They hibernate over the winter months.
They will carry food in their cheeks back to their den, such as grasses, mushrooms, bilberries, roots, stalks, leaves, flowers and seeds.

The seeds were preserved in permafrost at an average of -7Β°C (Source: David Gilichinsky/Russian Academy of Sciences)

These particular seeds the squirrels took back to the den froze, and stayed frozen for 30,000 years. The seeds were found 38.1 meters or 125 feet underground. Experts in Moscow used new techniques to grow these seeds, and you can see the results in the picture above. It’s a strange feeling knowing that what you are looking at actually started life 30,000 years ago.

There is a good article about this in ABC Science it also explains how they worked out the age of the seeds.

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44 Responses to Seeds Buried 30,000 Years Ago Now Growing (Video)

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    My memory bank has pull this word out of the cobwebs … viability – thus the seeds remained viable for 30,000 years. … but not sure if I’m current. On the other hand, I didn’t know squirrels could live so long. πŸ˜‰

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi aFrankAngle,
      They actually used the “flesh” of the seeds and injected them with a kind of growth hormone, just thawing the seeds out didn’t work, apparently it is a new technique and they think they may have opened the door to do the same to other live forms that have been frozen.
      Good one on the squirrel. πŸ˜†

  2. Hey Mags – you may find the story of the Wollemi Pine in Wolgan Valley interesting, too! Have a goody! πŸ™‚

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi This Sydney Life,
      Yes I have been to the National Park there, oh many years ago now, a spectacular place, and the trees are magnificent and of course the new discovery there a few years ago, isn’t it strange I never thought about doing a post on it. Thanks for the reminder about one our great spots here in OZ, with some very old trees. πŸ˜€

  3. Windsmoke. says:

    Sounds a bit like what they did in the movie Jurrasic Park :-).

  4. Holy Cow! And then possibly bringing back the Woolly Mammoth as well. It does, indeed, boggle the mind.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Laurie,
      New technology is great, but it does make you wonder how far it will take us, and into what areas, sometimes very “grey” areas. πŸ™‚

  5. travelrat says:

    I heard how they’d made beer from grains found in a 4000 year old Egyptian tomb, but this has it well beaten!

    I need to do some checking, but I believe it was thought, not so long ago, there were no seed-bearing plants back then … plants produced spores, instead, like ferns do. So, this would blow that theory out of the water, if my information’s not out of date, and it’s been revised already.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi travelrat,
      Your theory about the spores sounds right to me, although I’m also not 100% sure. Still its fantastic that they were able to grow this plant and it flowered as well, it is a great achievement.

  6. Barb says:

    And I can’t get 2 year old corn seeds to sprout, even though I keep it in the fridge. BAH

  7. Tori Nelson says:

    This makes me feel even worse for managing to kill plants before I even get them home from the nursery!

  8. BoJo Photo says:

    The longer I live the more I’m amazed. Especially since I started following you! πŸ™‚ What will you come up with next? πŸ™‚ Very interesting. They claim the honey found in the Pyramids can still be eaten if a little water is applied.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi BoJo Photo,
      The World is a wondrous place. πŸ™‚
      I hadn’t heard about the honey, very interesting indeed, it makes you really ask the question; do we really need a lot of these preservatives that they put in our honey these days? πŸ™‚

  9. Your blog makes us all a little smarter. Thanks for that. Now there’s no excuse for getting my parsley seeds to germinate. They aren’t more than a year old.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi writingfeemail,
      Good luck with your parsley. πŸ˜€
      I haven’t grown parsley for ages, but I do remember one lot I planted, had a very bitter taste, it was not long after that I stopped growing it. πŸ™‚

  10. coolfeline says:

    The thought is actually quite beautiful — ‘to watch Life that was started 30,000 years ago’… such a cute, little flower to boot..

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi coolfeline,
      I was really amazed that the plant flowered. Your right it is beautiful.
      They have been trying to this with various seeds for many years, but now with this new idea that the Moscow scientists have came up, anything is possible.

  11. tempo says:

    So what happens if the Squirrel comes back for it? I saw this on AV’s blog a few days ago
    http://tomusarcanum.wordpress.com/author/argentumvulgaris/

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi tempo,
      The squirrel would not be happy at all. πŸ˜†
      Doesn’t surprise me, it was a story that was all over the news, it is a huge breakthrough getting these seeds growing. The story was even in The Age believe it or not but it wasn’t done very good. πŸ™‚

  12. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    This is so exciting to me. The thought that we could introduce back species of plants that are long gone is quite profound. It’s possible that some of these plants might have useful medicinal properties. How cool!

  13. Amazing! What a pretty, delicate flower. The time span involved is so mind-boggling! Makes me wonder what other prehistoric plants (and animals) will be found in the future…

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Barbara,
      I have no doubt that other plants will be found, they have found different plants in the past, there is just so much to learn about the earth and the different plants that once thrived here.

  14. mommywritervkent says:

    Reblogged this on TRUnique News & Matters.

  15. El Guapo says:

    Very cool.
    Are they planning on using these seeds to grow the trees in the jungle for the Jurassic Park they will build wen they resurrect the fossilized embryos you posted the other day?

  16. Presumably, all this is aimed at making Man’s body immortal. Why, I wonder?

  17. starlaschat says:

    I agree I think it is a huge step for science. I’m excited to see whats next? I think we live in interesting and exciting times. I enjoyed the video now, I’m going to check out your link to ABC Science I believe. Thanks for sharing this story with us.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi starlaschat,
      Yes I think there are more wondrous things on the horizon to come. I’m glad you enjoyed the video, you will find the article in the ABC Science very good.

  18. Lenore Diane says:

    Salutations, Mags –
    You find and share some of the most interesting bits of information. This is amazing.

  19. Fergiemoto says:

    Wow!…well..how about that!

  20. souldipper says:

    So Mags…I’d love to say this means that we Canadians have all sorts of reverence for flora in case it is very, very, very old! πŸ˜€

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