World’s oldest living specimen

 By: Aamarpali Puri

What is life? From where it originated? It is something mysterious. Million and million years ago life came into existence.  There are certain viewpoints in this respect

  • Life was created on earth by diving power. It has all religious reasons and no experimental evidence.
  • Abiogenesis (life from non life): Spontaneous generation of living from non living as a result of certain chemical and physical changes under special conditions.
  • Modern View: Alexander Ivanovich Oparin (1894): He speculated that under the influence of UV radiations and violent electric discharge. Gases in earth atmosphere (Ammonia, methane, water vapours, hydrogen etc) reacted with each other in a coordinate manner, leading to the synthesis of protein, nucleic acids, fats, sugars and other essential compounds and acquired the properties of life. Lioyd Miller (1953), American chemist conducted experiments in the laboratory which strongly supported Oparin’s hypothesis. The life which is symbolised by the protoplasm came onto existence and give rise to more complex forms of living creatures. Protoplasm cannot be created in vitro and it doesn’t change with time both in plants and animals.

All living objects contain protoplasm which is basis of life. All living organism follow a definite life cycle birth, growth, reproduction, aging and death. There are certain plants which has unimaginable long life.

SOME OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST LIVING TREES ARE:

Big Baobab: The estimated the age of the Big Baobab (the Sunland Baobab) is around 6 000 years. By nature the Baobab tree has been planted upside down. When winter comes, the Baobab resembles a mass of roots pointing towards the sky instead of being underground. Even the flowers bloom at night. The Baobab has a special role in Africa.

Methuselah: Age over 5,000 years; this is ancient Bristlecone pine oldest known organism on earth. It is located in White Mountains of the California, in Inyo National Forest but it’s actual location is kept secret to protect it.

Mammoth Tree: The giant sequoia or mammoth tree is not as tall as the redwood, nor as wide as an baobab, does still Sequoiadendron giganteum represent the largest (most massive) plant on the planet. Some individuals are 3,500 years old, yet they are not the oldest trees on Earth – ‘title’ that belong to two pine species from the mountains of southwestern USA: Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) (photo) and Rocky Mountains Bristlecone Pine (Pinus arista): an individual of Pinus longaeva was found to have 4,900 years!.

Cypress tree of Iran: The estimated age is 4,000 years. It is likely to be the oldest living thing in Asia.

Alerce: A towering tree native to Andes mountains. Oldest lioving speciemen is 3,640 years old.

 The Senator: This tree located in Florida, is the largest bals cypress tree in US. Estimated age around 3,500 years. The tree got its name from Sen M.O Overstreet, who donated the tree and surrounding land in 1927. Senator was used as a landmark for the Indians and other native tribes. It has reported to endure many hurricans, including one in 1925 which reduce its height by 40 feet. It is reported that 118 foot, 3500 year old tree was burned to the ground in January 2012.

Raintree: Great Basin Bristlecone Pine located near Kyle Canyon in the Spring Mountain range in Southern Nevada, USA. Estimated 3000 years old but never cored.

 Patriarca da Floresta: This tree, an example of the species Cariniana legalis named Patriarca da Floresta in Brazil, is estimated to be about 3,000 years old, making it the oldest non-conifer in Brazil.

Olive Tree of Vouves:  This ancient olive tree is located on the Greek island of Crete and is one of seven olive trees in the Mediterranean believed to be at least 2,000 to 3,000 years old. It still produces olives, and they are highly prized.

Jōmon Sugi: Jōmon Sugi, located in Yakushima, Japan, is the oldest and largest cryptomeria tree on the island, and is one of many reasons why the island was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tree dates to at least 2,000 years old.

Chestnut Tree of One Hundred Horses: This tree, located on Mount Etna in Sicily, is the largest and oldest known chestnut tree in the world. Believed to be between 2,000 and 4,000 years old. It is listed by Guinness World Records as having the “greatest tree girth ever,” at 190 feet in circumference.

General Sherman: Believed to be around 2,500 years old, General Sherman is the mightiest giant sequoia still standing. It weighs over 6000 tons. The volume of its trunk alone makes it the largest non-clonal tree by volume in the world, even though its largest branch broke off in 2006. Sherman can be found in Sequoia National Park in California, where five of the 10 largest trees in the world exist.

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi: A sapling from the historical Bodhi tree under which the Buddha became enlightened. It was planted in 288 BC and is the oldest living human-planted tree in the world with a known planting date

A Clonal colony can survive much longer than an individual tree. Pando in the Fish lake national forest of Utah is considered oldest and largest organism estimated to be around 80, 000 years old. Clonal Trees species Huon Pine: located in Mount Read, Tasmani, Australia it is one of the several genetically identical males that have reproduced vegetatively. Although single trees in this stand may be around 3 to 4 thousand years old, the stand itself as a single organism has existed for 10,000 years.

Apart from this the Juniperus, taxus and taxodium 2-3,000 years; Peepul (Ficus religiosa -2-3,000 years;  Himalayan cedar or deodar 1,000 years; Euclaptus -300 years etc.

Bibliography:

Books:

Dutta, T C. & Dutta, A C (2000). A class book of Botany, 7th edition, Oxford University Press.

Websites:

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/photos/the-worlds-10-oldest-living-trees [Accessed on 12 July 2015].

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_trees [Accessed on 10 October 2015].

http://www.bigbaobab.co.za/baobab_facts

http://news.softpedia.com/news/5-Amazing-Things-About-the-World-039-s-Tallest-and-Largest-Trees-78308.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoiadendron_giganteum

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