Infographic Category Education

Earth’s Oldest Trees

By | source: Jul 6th, 2014

There has been a cat live to be 34, macaw live to 111, a human living to be 123, Koi fish live to be 226, and a tortoise that lived to be 250. These numbers seem big, but they donâ??t compare to the oldest living organisms – trees. The top six trees listed on this list are not single trees, or have not always been single trees; they come from clonal colonies. A clonal colony of trees is a group of trees that share the same root system. Old Tjikko looks to be a single tree, but its base is only a few hundred years old, while its roots are 9,000 years old and have supported other trees in the past.

The oldest single tree on the list is Prometheus (according to this infographic, Wikipedia says otherwise.). The story behind the chopping down of the Prometheus is interesting. Don Currey was doing research on these trees and wanted to find out how old the tree was, so he used a corer that ended up breaking off into the tree. He asked a park ranger how to get his corer back, and the man said they could simply cut down the tree, since there were so many of this species around. After the tree was cut down and Currey went to counting the rings, he found that he had chopped down the oldest tree in the world at 4,844 years old. He was devastated and taunted. Luckily, today we have found older trees that are still alive, so he does not have to be remembered in such a negative way. This story can be heard on Radiolab.