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The Judean date palm was once common in ancient Judea. The tree itself was a source of shelter, its fruit was ubiquitous in food, and its likeness was even engraved on money. But the plant became extinct around 500 A.D., and the prevalent palm was no more. But the plant is getting a second chance at life in the new millennium after researchers were able to resurrect ancient seeds.

Two thousand-year-old seeds were discovered inside a pottery jar during an archaeological excavation of Masada, a historic mountain fortress in southern Israel. It is believed the seeds were produced between 155 B.C. and 64 A.D. Those seeds sat inside a researcher's drawer in Tel Aviv for years, not doing anything.

Elaine Solowey, the Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel, wondered if she could revive the Judean Date Palm, so in 2005, she began to experiment. "I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?" Solewey said.

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Science

The Best, Worst, and Strangest Cell Phone Towers Disguised as Trees

America's newest invasive species is headed your way.

While corporations usually get flack for contributing to deforestation, cell phone companies, on the other hand, are reforesting the built environment with fake, plastic trees. Californians and New Englanders be warned: These invasive species are popping up wherever there are palms and pines, the easiest arbors to copycat. Unfortunately they have yet to breed bonzai varieties.

Do these tree simulacra do anything to improve the aesthetics of a landscape? Or do they simply introduce more artifice into our daily lives?

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