A lost berry?

The Pineberry (Rubus sylvestris) has been a riddle for archeologists since 1963. The story started in June 1963 when Lennart Hjortron found a fossilized branch that carried both needles and berries at a dig in the north of Sweden. Norrbotten. Before the find in -63 no one had heard of any tree with the combination of needles and berries. The name Pineberry was given to the fruit which is believed to be of the Pinaceae Family.

Due to the extraordinary berries of the fossil it got transported all over the world. The berry is believed to have been dark green to almost black and has big similarities to berries of the Rubus Family (such as Rasberries). For this reason the berry got the name Rubus Sylvestris. None of the archeologists that made the find could guess what an impact it would have on the archeology community. Not until biologists got to examine the find could the true meaning of this stone be understood. For years it had been believed that pine cones were the offspring of the flowers pines carried earlier but the Pineberry showed that the had taken the path of berries before turning into cones. The missing link of the pine cones had been found.

The pineberry fossil is believed to be from 400 AD and is so far the only finding of its kind. Scientists all over the world have questioned the find and at a science convention in Bern, the fourth of August in 1964, a DDR research team claimed it was a forgery. After the fall of the Berlin wall, one of the scientists stepped forward and confessed in CBS 60 minutes that there actually never was any evidence. A number of blurred photos of a swimming mink had been used to trick the convention.

In 1991, one year after the CBS confession, the debate would be as hot as it ever was. For two decades the berry had been forgotten, as everyone was sure it was a forgery but now it was a hot topic again. Today (2006), more than 30 conventions and conferences have been on the topic of the Pineberry and hundreds of articles have been published in peer-reviewed magazines. One of the most famous Pineberry-related articles called “The Pineberry and the impact of a berry on human genome” showed up at LTH in 1995. It disappeared as fast as it showed up and only a few scientists got to read it before it was gone. The university had pulled back the article and speculations are hot about what it might have said.