Methuselah is a 4,853-year-old Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) tree growing high in the White Mountains of Inyo County in eastern California. It is recognized as the non-clonal tree with the greatest confirmed age in the world. The tree's name refers to the biblical patriarch Methuselah, who ostensibly lived to more than 900 years of age, thus synonymous with longevity.
|Species||Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva)|
|Location||Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, in the White Mountains, Inyo County, California|
|Date seeded||2833 BCE|
|Custodian||United States Forest Service|
Methuselah is located between 2,900 and 3,000 m (9,500 and 9,800 ft) above sea level in the "Methuselah Grove" in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest within the Inyo National Forest. Its exact location within the grove is a secret protected by the United States Forest Service.
Status as oldest known treeEdit
Methuselah was 4,789 years old when sampled (likely in 1957) by Edmund Schulman and Tom Harlan, with an estimated germination date of 2833 BC. Since this tree ages back to this date, using tree rings, research shows precipitation patterns that date back to 1983 BC.
Another bristlecone specimen, WPN-114, nicknamed "Prometheus", was more than 4,844 years old when cut down in 1964, with an estimated germination date of 2880 BC. A dendrochronology, based on these trees and other bristlecone pine samples, extends back to about 9000 BC, albeit with a single gap of about 500 years.
An older bristlecone pine was reportedly discovered by Tom Harlan in 2009, based on a sample core collected in 1957. According to Harlan, the tree was 5,062 years old and still living in 2010. Neither the tree nor the sample core could be located after Harlan's death in 2013.
Other, longer-lived organisms are clonal colonies, such as a quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) colony named "Pando" in the Fish Lake National Forest in south-central Utah that has been estimated to be 80,000 years old, although precise estimates of clonal organisms such as this aspen colony are impossible with current technologies, and other scientific attempts to age Pando have estimated it may be much younger; the 11,700-year- old creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) colony, named "King Clone", in the Mojave Desert near the Lucerne Valley in California; and the 9,500-year-old Norway spruce (Picea abies) colony named "Old Tjikko" in Sweden. Methuselah, however, is the oldest known non-clonal organism.
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