While Methuselah is widely considered to be the oldest tree in the world, some question the claim. We finally made it to the last tree on the list and the oldest living organism in the world. In the case of the pando, luck seems to have smiled on its root system: it is estimated to be around 80,000 years old. But each tree shares a common root system and is a genetically identical clone of its forest pals. There’s also something perverse there too. credit: scottks1 The oldest living organism in the world is 80,000 years old, and clones itself. The entire grove weighs nearly 6,000 metric tons. If the theories of the origins of life I was taught at university are correct, some billions of years ago, a chemical cell in a deep-sea volcano managed to bud off a copy of itself, and has echoed its way to chaotic, confounding immortality. As Mitton and Grant justified the age estimate in their 1996 paper, “Genetic Variation and the Natural History of Quaking Aspen”: Part of the rationale behind current age estimates for aspen clones is that sexual reproduction is effectively frustrated by the rareity of a favorable suite of conditions in semiarid environments. Pando was discovered by Burton V. Barnes of the University of Michigan in the 1970s. In 2019, Rodgers and Šebesta produced this uneasy paragraph: While it is clear the base cause of the current trajectory is not mature tree mortality, but chronic browsing of regenerating aspen suckers, we are left wondering how this iconic organism survived and thrived likely for millennia—the exact age is unknown—while it appears to be dwindling suddenly during our time. Individual aspen stems typically do not live beyond 100–130 years and mature areas within Pando are approaching this limit. Darwinian evolution is 160 years old, and the structure of DNA was only determined in the early 1950s. But evolution has produced some curiosities that aren’t a combination of bizarre and heinous, and perhaps it’s time to lighten up with a discussion of one of the most impressive curiosities of all: Pando. Pando is the name of the many-trunked tree system that inspired all this. More about Pando Pando was given its name by the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor botanist Burton Barnes. Counting the rings of a single trunk will only account for up to 200 years or so, as Pando is in a constant cycle of growth, death, and renewal. This has the ability to multiply asexually, that is, in ways that seeds are not necessary, but can be either by producing root sprouts, or by cuttings. Back when Old Tjikko was Young Tjikko it may have seen Wooly Mammoths roaming around and the last glaciers of the ice age receding. They harbor vast amounts of biodiversity. It is one tree. This is because Pando is a tree colony. We live in the first age that is able to grope its way back towards the true mysteries of biology. Clonal age, in the strictest sense, truly applies only to the individual genome, which is the single element of clone identity that would be continous across such time spans. 1. Unlike the bristlecones, which can be dated accurately through tree rings, it’s pretty hard to get a fix on Pando’s exact age. Five or six species of aspen (upland Populus) reach around the entire northern hemisphere between about 30°-65° north latitude. The early aquatic plants required few modifications for structural support or water and nutrient absorption, since the surrounding water fulfilled their needs. In some ways Pando is the best witness of an ancient earth of the three because of the multiple independent lines of evidence of great age. Reach us offline. This is because Pando is a tree colony. As it turns out, quaking aspen have an extremely hard time reproducing through non-clonal in the American West, where the climate turned unfavorable several thousands years ago. The clonal colony encompasses 43.6 hectares (108 acres), weighs nearly 6,000 metric tons (6,600 short tons), and has over 40,000 stems (trunks), which die individually and are replaced by new stems growing from its roots. photo source: Flickr Public Domain It is estimated that there are over 40,000 individual trees in the Pando system and some of these trees are over 130 years old. Tree experts also note that the organism's age cannot be determined with the level of precision found in tree rings; some claim Pando's age is closer to 1 million years. We finally made it to the last tree on the list and the oldest living organism in the world. Decadent stasis might be an interesting fantasy, but nature is built from Pandos, systems that masquerade as individuals and persist into what might as well be eternity. Scientists disagree about Pando’s age, … Pando is possibly the oldest, heaviest living thing on Earth. While most of the other trees on this list are individuals, Pando is a clonal colony that shares one underground root systems. There’s something profound in that emergent reality. Quaking Aspens Populus tremuloides, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake County, Utah. As far as I could find out, that last study has not actually been executed, but given the conditions in which Pando lives it’s very, very clear that it’s an extraordinarily ancient organism. While Pando is still alive for now, scientists have noticed that Pando is showing signs of decline, primarily caused by human activities. Back when the number one tree on our list was working its way out of the ground the world was in the Middle Paleolithic era. Old Tjikko is a 9,550 year-old Norway spruce, located on Fulufjället Mountain of Dalarna province in Sweden.Old Tjikko originally gained fame as the "world's oldest tree." With an estimated age of over 80,000 years, Pando is the oldest tree in the world as well as one of the oldest living organisms. Establishing the genetic identity of the trees is fairly straightforward these days, but the whole colony? Pando was discovered by University of Michigan-Ann Arbor botanist Burton Barnes, who first suspected the extent of the grove and began to speculate about its size, weight, and age. It may die soon”, Natural History, March 2016 | “Saving Pando: Humans are taking measured steps to rejuvenate an ailing giant”, Tremblings Newsletter, May 2015 | “Partnering to preserve and restore healthy aspen ecosystems“, Salt Lake City Weekly, November 2013 | “Devastated: The World’s Largest Known Organism Is In Utah – And It’s Dying”, Aspen Forest | “Important information about Utah’s aspen forests, from the State of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources“. Though Pando has often been called the oldest living organism on Earth(with some estimates claiming the stand is upward of 80,000 years old), dating … Pando is far and away the oldest tree in the world with an estimated age of 80,000 years. See more ideas about wtf fun facts, weird facts, fun facts. credit: scottks1 The oldest living organism in the world is 80,000 years old, and clones itself. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Los Angeles County. Pando is a clonal colony of quaking aspen that has been growing in southern Utah so long that it makes Old Tjikko look like a spring chicken. For example, scientists estimate that the giant quaking aspen tree colony in Utah known as “Pando” is more than 80,000 years old. The Flood . The story of a fourth-grade class working with Utah lawmakers to make the state tree the quaking aspen. UTopia TV, April 2019 | Pando featured on season 4 premiere episode of UTopia TV, PBS News Hour, February 2019 | “Earth’s most massive living thing is struggling to survive”, Mongabay, June 2020 | “Conservation insights from an enormous aspen clone: Q&A with ecologist Paul Rogers”, New York Times, October 2018 | “Pando, the Most Massive Organism on Earth, Is Shrinking”, Topos Magazine, June-July 2018 | “Living With a Giant” blog seriesPart I, Part II, Part III, Part IIII, US News & World Report, June 2018 | “Earth’s Most Massive Living Organism Is Dying”, Live Science, December 2017 | “The World’s Largest Organism Is Dying”, Earther, November 2017 | “Earth’s Heaviest Organism Could Be Eaten to Death…By Deer”, Salt Lake Tribune, November 2017 | “Utah’s Pando aspen grove is the most massive living thing known on Earth. About as much the average person might fuss about individual hairs on their head new seedlings from their roots said... 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