Saturday, January 7, 2012
Methuselah is the oldest known living non-colonal organism in the world. It is 4,842 years old. It can be found in the Bristlecone Pine Forest near Death Valley. However, while it is open to tourists, nowhere does it say which tree is Methuselah; it's kept anonymous for its own security. According to the Wikipedia page, " Methuselah's exact location is undisclosed as a protection against vandalism." So while unlikely that the tree above is Methuselah, it is probably very similar to this one.
In 1964, when scientists were first beginning to realize just how old these trees were, they decided to do some core sampling. A graduate student doing the samples ended up getting his drill bit stuck in one of the trees. Rather than just leave it there, he decided to cut down the tree to retrieve it. Upon inspecting the age rings of said tree, it became apparent that the tree, nicknamed Prometheus, was well over 5,000 years old. This controversial felling is featured in an episode of Radiolab, appropriately titled "Oops."