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Nature & Environment

Tree in Chile could be oldest in the world

By T.K. Randall
June 11, 2022 · Comment icon 12 comments

Is this the world's oldest tree ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Yiyo Zamorano
An enormous tree in the Chilean Andes is a contender for the oldest living tree on Earth at 5,400 years old.
It's difficult to imagine living for thousands of years, yet there are trees alive today that were around when the Egyptians built the Great Pyramid and when the builders of Stonehenge laid the first stone.

The current record holder for "world's oldest tree" is a Great Basin bristlecone pine in California known as Methuselah which is 4,853 years old, however researchers believe that they have found another candidate which could be even older.

The tree - a Gran Abuelo found in the Chilean Andes - could be as much as 5,400 years old.

As things stand, however, its exact age remains a matter of some controversy because it has yet to be definitively confirmed and the underlying data has not been peer-reviewed.
There is still no doubt, though, that this ancient behemoth needs to be protected, because it is still thousands of years old even if it doesn't quite exceed the world record.

According to climate and ecology scientist Jonathan Barichivich, it is currently suffering from the effects of climate change and a rather excessive number of visitors.

"It's really in poor condition because of tourism," he told Live Science.

Source: Live Science | Comments (12)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Piney 2 years ago
Since your head is already sharpened to a point just volunteer yourself as a core auger.
Comment icon #4 Posted by acute 2 years ago
Comment icon #5 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 2 years ago
Somehow... "It's really in poor condition because of tourism," he told Live Science." ------- I ain't buying this.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Doug1066 2 years ago
It's not.  The world's oldest single-stemmed tree is a Norway spruce in northern Sweden that is 9560 years old.  Also, there are two Huon pines, one in Tasmania and one in Indonesia that are over 10,000 years old.  And an aspen, Clone Pando, in Utah is at least 80,000 years old. All those are living trees.  There is a dead bristlecone pine that may be older.  I'll have to check. Doug
Comment icon #7 Posted by Doug1066 2 years ago
  That dead tree is a bristlecone pine.  It lived to an age of 5062 years, so it didn't quite beat out the Patagonian cypress above. I listed the following trees in my program "Older Than History."  I tried to include pictures of each tree, but the files were too big for UM. 1.  Indian Tree.  Miners Park, Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron, New Mexico.  Ponderosa pine.  Age:  c. 400 years.  The tree has a large scar from Indian pitch-harvesting.  We know it's not a firescar because it doesn't go clear to the ground.      Oldest known ponderosa pine:  Old Pine, Pine Siding, Mancos, Co... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Doug1066 2 years ago
There's another way to extract a stuck increment borer.  Take a rope, tie to two different trees and loop the middle around handle of the increment borer.  Then start backing it out of the tree.  As the rope tightens around the handle, it exerts an increasing pull on the borer, hopefully pulling it out of the tree (or breaking the handle). Doug 
Comment icon #9 Posted by Tatetopa 2 years ago
Makes me happy for 2 reasons.  I thought you might know something and I am glad it wasn't you.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Doug1066 2 years ago
We have already drawn and quartered him. Doug
Comment icon #11 Posted by Doug1066 2 years ago
Buy it or not, trampling on a tree's root system damages it, particularly if it's on a weak soil.  Enough of this can kill a tree.  We have a park near here that just placed gravel for a parking lot over the root systems of some 100+-year old oaks, killing around 50 of them.  Trees are extremely sensitive about their roots. Doug
Comment icon #12 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 2 years ago
Yeah, Doug. I may have misspoken there. But I look at how huge that tree is and wonder if anything could ever hurt it. 

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