Flowers grown from 30,000-year-old fruit

 Notrocketscience Files 2012 02 Silene Regenerated Plant

Russian scientists grew the plants above from the innards of fruit that had been frozen for 30,000 years. From Discover:

The plant owes its miraculous resurrection to a team of scientists led by David Gilichinsky, and an enterprising ground squirrel. Back in the Upper Pleistocene, the squirrel buried the plant’s fruit in the banks of the Kolyma River. They froze.

Over millennia, the squirrel’s burrow fossilized and was buried under increasing layers of ice. The plants within were kept at a nippy -7 degrees Celsius, surrounded by permanently frozen soil and the petrifying bones of mammoths and woolly rhinos. They never thawed. They weren’t disturbed. By the time they were found and defrosted by scientists, they had been buried to a depth of 38 metros, and frozen for around 31,800 years…

Svetlana Yashina from the Russian Academy of Sciences grew the plants from immature fruits recovered from the burrow. She extracted their placentas – the structure that the seeds attach to – and bathed them in a brew of sugars, vitamins and growth factors. From these tissues, roots and shoots emerged.

"Flowers regenerated from 30,000-year-old frozen fruits, buried by ancient squirrels"


  1. Beautiful. Until the first spring, when it sprouts a mouth and begins eating the scientists like they were upper pleistocene  ground squirrels.

    1. The dentition pattern evident on the “skull” is more consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the “ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams” you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time.

      1.  Wow…I just threw away a mid-90s printout of that Smithsonian gag. Back then, memes were spread by e-mail, not 4chan.

      1. The scientists, and I’m actually referring to a different article which quoted the scientists a bit more.

  2. So what do young Earth creationists think when they read things like this*? Instead of marveling at how amazing science is, do they instead instantly think of how these scientists must be lying?

    It seems so sad to me to not be able to enjoy the wonder and splendor of it all.
    *Well, I imagine the answer is that young Earth creationists don’t read things like this, so it’s a non-issue.

    1.  Some of them think that fossils and frozen corpses were planted by God as evidence of his existence and power. Completely delusional…

      1. I simply see this as a golden opportunity for some enterprising apple farmer (with a splash of bible-quotin’ madness) to determine exactly which type of apple  brought about The Downfall Of Man, and then use that “fact” (*snort*) against his competitors in his advertisements.

        It’s the American Way, ain’t it ? At least it is these days. Take a science you loathe and bad-mouth it, until it can be used in your favor – And then it’s suddenly no longer “science”, it’s a sign from god.

  3. Now they just need to grow an Ice Age squirrel to feed this ice age flower to.  Then maybe an ice age Sabertooth Cat to feed the Ice Age squirrels to.   And that, son, is what we call the Circle of Extinct Life.

      1. I suppose you are right – I should have realized that the scientists & articles would have made a note of an extinct genotype being resurrected, and that they probably would not have been able to pass up naming it Silene stenophyllazurus.

        Very well, sir, I revise my previous previous bad joke to:

        And that, son, is what we call the Circle of Reanimated Prehistoric Life.

  4. ‘… in some pots they found on the side of the road. Luckily, one of the scientists had his J-SH04 phone on him and snapped these incredible pictures.’

  5. I for one am too impressed to make any jokes here… I’m too blown away to even take the opportunity to rip on dumbarse Biblical literalists.

    I’m just grooving on how extraordinarily convenient (anthropic principle, I suppose) all of nature’s laws are, to allow the preservation of function of an exquisitely detailed bit of nanotech for so very, very long (entropy is harsh but fair)… let alone to encourage the spontaneous self-generation of its ultimate ancestors.

    Literally awesome.

  6. Wow. We’ve got squirrels that incessantly bury our strawberries. Up until today I thought that was just plain annoying. 

  7. Is this some kind of record? Like, ‘Oldest thing grown’ or something? Just absolutely floored at how awesome this is, but is this a first or are there other stories of similarly growing something mega mega mega old.

    Edit: just read the full article, nevermind!

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