By Ben Radstein, Staff Reporter

The Uncoveror previously reported that Saskra Root, one of the "natural ingredients" of Coca-Cola was lost forever due to the extinction of Saskra Fortissima, the plant it came from. Now, a botanist has discovered a small patch of it in a Bolivian jungle, and successfully grown clones. In an Uncoveror Exclusive, I was able to interview him. He has asked me not to reveal his real name or his location, so I will call him "George"

Radstein: You claim that the lost ingredient for making the real Coca-Cola we all remember from youth is not gone after all. You found some and cloned it when all previous attempts had failed. Could you tell me more?

"George": Yes, a colleague of mine and I were exploring the jungles of Peru and Bolivia. He was hoping to study native tribes, and I indigenous fauna. We did find a native tribe and bonded with them rather well. On a gathering trip with some of the tribal women, we observed them collecting Coca and another plant growing with it. I discovered that they use the roots of this plant and Coca leaves to brew a kind of beverage. Though it was not very sweet, it did remind me of Coke from the old days when it tasted so much better than it does now. I was familiar with your previous report, and suspected at once that I had discovered what might be the last remaining Saskra Fortissima on earth. I smuggled a sample of it out of the jungle along with some Coca, since Saskra doesn't seem to ever grow without it. Once I got back to my lab, I confirmed what I had suspected. I had Saskra. It was not extinct after all.

Radstein: That is remarkable! Why all the secrecy?

"George": I cannot disclose my name or location because I am growing Coca. That is illegal and the penalties are severe, so I need to hide my research. If a scientific exemption to the law were passed, I could stop being secretive, but I cannot stand to stay completely silent. That is why I contacted you.

Radstein: Have you tried to find an alternative to using actual Coca plants?

"George": Yes, and so has every researcher before me. It just does not work. Any attempt to clone Saskra without a solution of Coca extractives failed. Any attempt to grow the new plants cloning produced without Coca beside them failed. They just withered and died. I have discovered that every Saskra plant needs to share soil with three or four Coca to grow. There is just no other way.

Radstein: Have you contacted Coca-Cola about your findings?

"George": Not yet. I don't have enough to make it commercially viable. I will let them know when I can produce enough for them to use. That will require a place where Coca can safely be cultivated, but there is no such place at this time. Until then, my research will remain underground. Only you and two of my colleagues know about it, and no one else can know just who or where I am until the time is right. I promise that when that time comes, you will get the scoop.

There you have it. A botanist has re-discovered and successfully cloned the secret ingredient in "The Real Thing". One day, the Coke we all remember may rise from the ashes like the Phoenix in mythology.