According to this article on panda.org somewhere between 200 and 2,000 species of plants and animals go extinct every year. Of course, according to this Atlas Obscura article we discover about 15,000 new species—mostly insects—each year. What we don’t hear about very often is a species that comes back. When we do it’s generally something like the coelacanth, which was believed extinct when a fisherman caught one in 1938. They were living where we weren’t looking. (Read more tales of rediscovered species on thedodo.com.)This is a different sort of story. A group of students in Winnipeg, Canada had the chance to work with some very special seeds. The seeds were discovered by archaeologists digging in Wisconsin inside a clay ball which was buried in a pot approximately 800 years ago. This clay ball was a technique used by Native Americans to preserve seeds and it sure seemed to work. Some of the seeds were still viable!

Example of a harvested Gete-okosomin. They are massive!
Photo by @heirloomexpo on Twitter.

The students have planted and cultivated the seeds and grown a squash called Gete-okosomin which translates to “really cool old squash.” Of course, they aren’t the only ones involved with this extraordinary revival. The seeds have been distributed to a number of people who are attempting to revive the species by cultivating the vegetables and then collecting the seeds. This video news report provides some more details about the project.

Wow! That guy is pretty laid back. I wonder if squash is the only thing he’s cultivating!I think this is an amazing, hopeful story. Too many latch onto the stories of doom and destruction. This is proof that things can turn around with the right discoveries and people focused on the problem.

It will probably be a while before we get to have one of these on our table, but it will be worth the wait!

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