Children who swallow fruit seeds sometimes worry that a fruit is going to grow inside their stomachs. While that won’t happen to any living person, is it possible for a tree of any kind to grow inside the decaying stomach of a deceased person? Science says the answer is yes!
The Sad Story Of Ahmet Hergune
In 1974, Ahmet Hergune died in a battle during an ongoing conflict between Cyprus and Turkey. Hergune and two other Cypriots who were killed were buried inside a cave. Decades later, their strange place of burial was discovered when people noticed that a fig tree had grown inside the cave.
A false story was originally reported that Hergune had eaten a fig before his death. The fig seed in his stomach allegedly sprouted when an explosion allowed water and sunlight to reach the cave.
Is It True?
Ahemet Hergune and two other Cypriots were buried in a cave, and a growing fig tree was discovered in the same cave decades later. However, the tree did not grow right on top of Hergune’s corpse as if it came out of his stomach. The tree did grow close to the three fallen soldiers, which only proves that it is possible that their decaying bodies provided the extra nutrients necessary for a tree to flourish in such an unusual environment. Maybe either Hergune, the two other deceased, or one of the people who buried them dropped a fig inside the cave. Although this account of a seed inside a dead person sprouting was proven to be a busted myth, is it possible for this to happen?
“Busted Myth” Proves To Be True
A severe storm in Ireland caused a very large and old tree to fall over. The roots were turned upright when the tree fell, and a skeleton was tangled up in the root system.
This could have been dismissed as a tree that happened to grow over a burial site, but scientist used carbon dating to compare the age of the bones with the age of the tree. It was found that the bones likely came from the same time the tree started to grow. The roots were intertwined throughout the skeleton, which leads scientist to believe that the tree grew out of the body.
How Is This Possible?
A seed needs nutrients, soil, water, and sunlight to grow into a healthy plant. The water and sunlight is provided by the sun and rain. As a body decomposes, the chemical processes produce more than enough nutrients to support a growing plant. But what about the soil?
Bodies are usually buried in the dirt. The body decomposition process keeps a seed viable. Fungi and bacteria inside the soil help to break down the skin, muscles, and fat that separates the seed inside the body from the dirt outside. Once the nutrient-rich seed reaches the dirt, it can grow with access to water and sunlight. Under certain circumstances, your remains could grow into a tree.