2,000 Years Old or Just 3 – Which Is It?

Old Japanese Maple-Flickr image, thanks to Radium Rat for making this photo bloggable!

Trees are the longest lived things on the planet. Several are known to be about 2,000 years old, at least, but how about a sapling only 3 years green sprouted from a seed that was over 2,000? The previous record for a viable seed was 1,300 years. In an AP article by Randolph E. Schmid posted today the news is about a date palm seed from Masada and the healthy sapling it has grown into. It’s amazing that the seed remained viable so long, but it raises the question of how to think or talk about age? This genetic material is clearly 2,000 years old but the growing tree is only three. This may be a rare, natural case; yet, in the biological age (as opposed to industrial or atomic ages) that we find ourselves embarked upon future discoveries and creations will demand that we adjust to a more curious living world than what we thought we were living in.

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