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Keepers of Prometheus: The World's Oldest Tree

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posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 07:22 AM
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On a craggy, windswept peak in a lonely Nevada wilderness stands a grove of old-growth trees. Gnarled and twisted, shaped by the weather and whirling winds into erratic growth forms, their roots have clung to the pebble-strewn mountainside for literally millennia.

On the far side of the Earth, the great pyramids were erected in Egypt and Homer wrote his epic tales, the ancient Roman Empire rose and fell, and humans built the North American cities, roads and railways of today – all in the lifespan of these trees.

This is not just any old-growth grove. These are members of the species Pinus longaeva, or Bristlecone pine, the world’s longest-living individual trees.




Currey extracted cores from the Bristlecone trees, but found counting the sometimes paper-thin rings of the twisted and gnarly wood an impossible task. He decided only a complete cross-section would give him an accurate ring count. With permission from the U.S. Forest Service, Currey selected an especially old tree, dubbed WPN 114 for his study, and he cut it down. Only later in his hotel room, counting the rings on the cross-sections of wood that his chainsaw had rendered, did Currey realize that the tree he had felled was more than 4,800 years old – older than any known living tree.


www.arizona.edu...




posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 07:29 AM
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Well that sounds about right for us humans. Kill it, so we can study it.


Interesting urban myth though, the curse of the trees. I like that idea.
edit on 1-3-2013 by chiefsmom because: afterthought



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 07:32 AM
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Out lived by trees, turtles, and bacteria it sucks being human. My life is chump change compared to a tree.

Otherwise nice find, I knew thats trees could live up to a thousands years but 5 thousand thats just nuts.

If only they could talk,



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 07:35 AM
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what a brutal method...

surely could have just developed ring-counting software/imaging device.. but no... cut it down!



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 07:41 AM
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A sad story to be sure, but you have to realize a few things about this story.

1) The chopper of the tree (as it were) was a graduate student - too lazy to count lines out of the core samples, and probabally too scared to ask his advisor for help.
2) This was all happening in the 1960's long before computers and optical images made these tasks easier.
3) The conservation movement didn't start going mainstream in the US until 1970 (en.wikipedia.org...) too late for the tree.



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 07:42 AM
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Originally posted by cartesia
what a brutal method...

surely could have just developed ring-counting software/imaging device.. but no... cut it down!



In the summers of 1963 and 1964, Donald Currey, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina, climbed Wheeler Peak in Nevada’s Snake Range to where the Bristlecone pines stand in the cold mountain wind.


1960's long before those technology pieces were around.



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 07:47 AM
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I guess I should go there and talk to those trees. I doubt if they would think I am worthy of talking to them. Those old guys just don't have the patients to deal with us youngsters. I like to talk to trees they never talk back.



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 08:52 AM
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Why does it say it's the oldest tree in the world? Are the US alone in the world?

Oldest tree in Sweden

Over 9500 years old...

EDIT: And the Sweden article is 5 years older than the one about Prometheus
edit on 1-3-2013 by NowanKenubi because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 09:07 AM
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Originally posted by NowanKenubi
Why does it say it's the oldest tree in the world? Are the US alone in the world?

Oldest tree in Sweden

Over 9500 years old...

EDIT: And the Sweden article is 5 years older than the one about Prometheus
edit on 1-3-2013 by NowanKenubi because: (no reason given)


Errr.....because roots don't count as trees?

I think currently the oldest standing "tree" is called Methuselah and it's about the same age (give or take a century or two) as Prometheus....same general area, also a Bristle cone pine...



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 09:15 AM
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reply to post by Jeremiah65
 


Well thanks for clarifying that. I really had not noticed.

My bad.



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 12:44 PM
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A lot of this was clarified last year on a thread on old trees and other similar organisms:

ATS thread on old trees




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