I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
- Jul 19, 2004
- Out of Bounds
(Copied from the World's Oldest Trees thread.) The 'Pando' quaking aspen clonal tree / forest is one of the contenders for the world's largest organism.)
FULL STORY: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40224991The oldest living thing on Earth
... In Fishlake National Park in Utah in the US lives a quaking aspen tree that most people would struggle to see as "a tree".
It's a clonal tree called "Pando", from the Latin meaning "I spread", and for good reason.
It is so large that it is easy to mistake for a forest. However, Pando, despite being the size of Vatican City, has all sprung from one seed, and, over the years, has grown a single vast rootstock supporting an estimated 50,000 tree trunks. Accurately estimating how many years is problematic, says population geneticist Prof Karen Mock from Utah State University, who works on the aspen.
"There have been all kinds of different estimates but the original tree is almost certainly not there," he told the BBC.
Clonal trees grow in all directions and regenerate themselves as they go. This means taking a core from a trunk will not give you the age of the whole tree.
Scientists try to get around this problem by equating size to age. It's an inaccurate process and Pando's estimated age ranges from a few thousand to 80,000 years old. ...