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Ancient Trees

At least 50 trees around the world have staggeringly been around for more than a millennium, as trees are one of the oldest living organisms to grace this Earth. One secret to trees’ longevity is a complicated compartmentalized vascular system which enables part of the tree to die out while the rest continues to thrive. There are several other reasons that they live so long, including creating defensive compounds to fight off parasites and deadly bacteria. The great bristlecone pines can reach 3,000 years or more and don’t seem to age like we do, continuing to grow vigorously well into their thousands. “Some trees defy time by sending out clones, or genetically identical shoots, so that one trunk’s demise doesn’t spell the end for the organism. The giant colonies can have thousands of individual trunks, but share the same network of roots.” Wired has put together a gallery of some of the world’s oldest, most venerable and impressive trees, including the Pando, part of a colony of Quaking Aspen in Utah; the Methuselah, the world’s oldest individual living trees, rooted 10,000 feet above sea level in the Inyo National Forest, California; and the majestic Alerce tree, discovered in the Andes Mountains in south-central Chile.
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