The Ancient One: Great-Great-Grandparent Tree Holds Record as Oldest Living Organism at 5,484 Years

Chilean scientists have discovered a four-meter-thick Patagonian cypress that is believed to be the oldest living tree in the world, surpassing the current record holder by more than 600 years. This incredible discovery showcases the resilience and endurance of nature, as this magnificent cypress has stood the test of time and weathered countless challenges over the centuries. With its impressive size and age, this tree serves as a testament to the power and wonder of the natural world.

In a recent study conducted by Chilean scientist Jónathán Barichívic at the Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory in Paris, the coniferous tree, also known as Araucaria araucana or “alerce milenario” in Spanish, was found to have a potential age of up to 5,484 years old. This makes it at least 600 years older than the previous contender for the title of oldest tree.

According to an article from The Guardian, Maisa Rojas, Chile’s environment minister and a member of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, referred to the recent findings as a “remarkable scientific discovery.”

The Fitzroya cypress, also known as the Patagonian cypress, is a tree native to Chile and Argentina that belongs to the same family as giant redwoods. In 2020, Barijhibi took a sample of the Great-Grandfather but was unable to reach its core with the drill he used. He then turned to computer models to determine the age of the tree, taking into account environmental factors and random variations. It’s amazing how technology can help us learn more about the natural world around us.

As of now, Baričević hasn’t been able to accurately determine the age of the tree by counting its rings. He hasn’t published an estimate in a scientific journal yet, but he’s expressed his hopes to do so in the upcoming months.

According to the findings, Alert Mileñario could potentially be 600 years older than Methuselah, a smooth pine tree known to be 4,853 years old in California, which is currently recognized as the world’s oldest tree.

Methuselah, the former contender for the title of the world’s oldest tree, is a Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) tree that has been growing tall in the White Mountains of Inyo County in Eastern California for 4,853 years. The tree is known as a great-grandfather and thrives in the cool and humid environment of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the neighboring National Park, providing shelter for mosses, lichens, and other plants in its fissures.

According to Barichivich, Methuselah is facing threats from park visitors who can walk around its trunk and droughts caused by global warming.

The towering Alerce Milepario stands proud in all its majestic glory. The Chilean Forestry Institute reports that logging plantations in the southern region of Chile occupy over 2.3 million hectares, with cellulose production being a significant industry for the country.

Approximately 93% of the region is composed of water-demanding monoculture plantations and eucalyptus trees. However, over the course of four decades between 1973 and 2011, more than 780,000 hectares of natural forests were lost in Chile. It is our sincere hope that Great-Grandfather and its fellow wilderness inhabitants can withstand human interference.

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