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From Prometheus to the Secret Tree; Get to know the oldest trees in the world

Age: At least 4900 years when cut off

Prometheus, a bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) was in the large Wheeler Pig basin in the state of Nevada, USA, which had lived for nearly 5,000 years before being cut off in 1964. Prometheus still holds the record for the oldest recorded tree.

Prometheus met its end when American geographer Donald Rusk Currie was surveying ice age glaciers and was allowed to take samples from the pines in Door Park. He cut down Prometheus with permission and by counting 4,862 rings, he estimated that the tree was more than 4,900 years old. The log that Cory used to count the rings was not taken from the lower part of the tree; Therefore, Prometheus was definitely more than 4862 years old.

There are conflicting reports as to why the tree fell. According to the most popular story, Corey’s coring tool got stuck and resulted in the tree being felled. Others say, he cut down the tree to better count the rings and draw better conclusions. Today, part of this tree can be seen at the Nevada Great Basin Visitor Center in Great Basin National Park.


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