The world's ancient trees still stand tall, guarding ancient forests and giving us a glimpse into our past. They have seen glaciers come and go, and they've been witness to the rise and fall of civilizations. These ancient trees hold secrets that scientists are only just discovering. Here is a blog about some of the oldest known living things on Earth!
The Great Bristlecone Pine trees are the oldest living species of tree on Earth. Methuselah is the oldest known living tree with a confirmed age of 4,853 years. Another Great Bristlecone Pine had a verified age of over 4,900 years, but it was cut down accidentally in 1964. These ancient plants grow in the western United States on mountain ranges that run through Utah, Nevada, and Eastern California. They grow at an altitude of between 5,600 feet and 11,200 feet.
Looking at them feels like traveling back in time because they genuinely do look their age. Gnarled, wiry, and knotted bark with bare branches make them look as though they're skeletal remains of a tree that once was, but they are still miraculously alive. Their incredible life spans are due to the harsh climate they have adapted to. Through evolution, they have adapted to survive harsh conditions, clinging to life with a firm grip.
Incredibly, the observation that they look a bit skeletal or more simply put, dead, is partially true. It's conjectured that the reason they live such long lives is due to the fact that so much of these tree's wood is actually dead. In some of the oldest examples of the species, only a thin strip of living wood connects a few living branches and pine needles to the root system.
All of that dead wood helps serve as a protective layer against the elements and any crawling critters who could harm the trees. Bristlecone pines have incredibly dense, resinous wood that repels insects and animals that normally source shelter or food from trees.
These incredible trees are a mystical gate into another time on this planet. They are some awe-inspiring natural wonders of the world.