bait in the wolf trap (petitfour) wrote in wtf_nature,
bait in the wolf trap

oldest tree on earth

Our plant friends don't get enough love around here, I think, and considering their age, the Grove of the Ancients is owed a little respect where it's due. The Grove of the Ancients is an area that's home to a group of bristlecone pine trees, and one of their number holds the record for being the oldest living tree and the oldest living thing on Earth. In order to protect this botanical senior citizen, its actual location is carefully concealed so as to guard it against vandalism.

However, guests are welcome to walk through the grove, and in my own opinion it's a wonderful and humbling experience, to think that your lifespan is just a handful of seasons to these living things.

"Every single tree in the Ancient Forest is at least 4,000 years old, many reach 4,500 years and the oldest one – Methuselah – has a confirmed age of 4,768 years which secured its place in the Guinness Book of World Records. In order to protect Methuselah from souvenir hunters and people who would just 'love it to death,' the forest service does not disclose its location. It only hints that Methuselah is on of the trees right along the trail in the Ancient Forest. So, we took pictures of the most magnificent trees along that trail. Rest assured that each and every one of them is older than any other tree you have ever seen and that one of them is Methuselah."

"An older specimen, WPN-114 and nicknamed Prometheus, was more than 4,844 years old when cut down in 1964 (estimated germination date 2880 BC). Another tree, approximately 4,600 years old, is still living. A dendrochronology, based on these trees and other bristlecone pine samples, extends back to about 9000 BC, albeit with a single gap of about 500 years." There are a handful of these guys spread out along the trail, and everyone tends to pick their favorite as to whom they think might be the most likely candidate as the oldest living non-clonal organism on the planet Earth:

So if this tree could tell you what it's like to be that old, what would it have seen?

These trees have some serious character, even after they pass on, and are most definitely a national treasure.
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