PSK Research 7.04.17

PSK Research => Pets, animals & nature => Topic started by: Psk on June 15, 2017, 04:41:25 pm

Title: Oldest Living Things Are 5,000-80,000 Years Old
Post by: Psk on June 15, 2017, 04:41:25 pm
A Sweet Chestnut tree in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, is 300 years old.

A well-known way of measuring the age of a tree is by counting the rings in its trunk: one ring per year of growth. The problem with that is, counting rings normally involves cutting down the tree.

Arboriculturalists get around this by using an increment borer, a drill that allows them to take out a core, and count the rings without fatally damaging the tree. But in the 1960s, one scientist's drill broke off inside the bristlecone pine tree he was sampling. The kit is expensive, so to recover his lost tool, a they cut cut down the tree. Once felled, the tree could be easily aged, and was found to be 5000 years old.

They've found a sacred fig tree in Sri Lanka that is at least 2,222 years old.

There's a Patagonian cypress tree in Chile which, at 3,627 years old, is as old as Stonehenge.

A Great Basin bristlecone pine in California's White Mountains is 4,850 years old. But the oldest tree is an unnamed bristlecone pine from the same location, has a core suggesting it is 5,067 years old. That has lived through the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. It was already growing when the Ancient Egyptians started building pyramids.

In Fishlake National Park in Utah in the US lives a Quaking Aspen tree that most people would struggle to see as "a tree".

It's a clonal tree called "Pando", from the Latin meaning "I spread", and for good reason.

It is so large that it is easy to mistake for a forest. However, Pando, despite being the size of Vatican City, has all sprung from one seed, and, over the years, has grown a single vast rootstock supporting an estimated 50,000 tree trunks. It's more like a giant bush than a tree. Estimating how old it is, is problematic, says geneticist Prof Karen Mock from Utah State University, who works on the aspen.

"There have been all kinds of different estimates but the original tree is almost certainly not there,"

Clonal trees grow in all directions and regenerate themselves as they go. This means taking a core from a trunk will not give you the age of the whole tree.

Scientists try to get around this problem by equating size to age. It's an inaccurate process and Pando's estimated age ranges from a few thousand to 80,000 years old.