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By Mythili Devarakonda- “Pinus Longaeva” or bristlecone pines are the oldest trees, having been alive for nearly 5000 years.
Among many environmental benefits trees offer, purifying air by providing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide is most valuable for humans. Amid the global impacts of climate change, trees have become even more sacred for slowing the adverse effects from human activities such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation and more.
Trees are vital to human life – they are some of the oldest known living organisms on earth, Leaf & Limb reports. Over centuries, some trees have managed to survive world wars and natural disasters. They have formed unique abilities to survive, including replacing damaged plant parts, producing identical offshoots as well as releasing defensive compounds to ward off pests and other invaders.
The oldest individual tree in the world, nicknamed “Methuselah” after the longest-lived person in the Bible, dates to 1957 and has been alive for more than 4,800 years (4,854 years as of 2022).
What is the oldest tree?
According to Guinness World Records, the oldest tree species in the world are the bristlecone pines with scientific name “Pinus Longaeva,” of California’s White Mountains, USA.
The oldest individual tree in the world — nicknamed “Methuselah” after the longest-lived person in the Bible — has been alive for more than 4,800 years (4,854 years as of 2022). Founded by Dr. Edmund Schulman in 1957, the core samples were examined and verified by Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at University of Arizona.
Bristlecone pines belong to a category called extremophiles, meaning species which can endure harsh environmental conditions, including extreme temperatures, high altitudes and varying pH levels. These trees grow very slowly to sustain themselves.
Is the oldest tree on earth still alive?
Yes, the oldest tree “Methuselah,” is alive as of October 2022. Its exact location is kept under wraps by the U.S. Forest Department to protect the tree from vandalism. According to National Geographic, scientists believe this is the planet’s oldest single living thing.
In early 2022, National Geographic reported that the bristlecone pines might have a contender for the title of the oldest tree. A Chilean researcher presented a study that showed Patagonian cypress, also known as alerces, as the longest living tree species. While alerces has been recognized as the second longest-lived tree species, the theory about it being the first has not been confirmed yet due to the researcher’s use of unusual methods of dating the tree, National Geographic reports. (USA Today)