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Chilean Cypress on the Verge of Becoming World’s Oldest Tree

Giant Ancient Sequoia Tree.

Move over Methuselah, there's a new ancient tree in town! The "Great Grandfather" in southern Chile is set to become the world's oldest tree, surpassing California's Methuselah, which is currently 4,850 years old. This giant tree's age is a testament to its resilience and the importance of preserving our planet's natural wonders.

A giant tree in southern Chile, known as the “Great Grandfather,” is close to being recognized as the world’s oldest tree. If this happens, it will surpass the 4,850-year-old Methuselah in California considered the oldest tree in the world.

Unlocking the Secrets of Climate Adaptation

The Great Grandfather is believed to be over 5,000 years old. According to experts, it may hold scientific information that could reveal how the planet has adapted to climatic changes. This Fitzroya cupressoides, a type of cypress tree endemic to South America, is situated in the southern Los Rios region, 800 kilometers (500 miles) south of Santiago.

World’s Oldest Tree? The Quest to Measure Its Age

Antonio Lara, a researcher at Austral University and Chile’s center for climate science and resilience, is part of the team determining the Great Grandfather’s age. In 2020, Lara and fellow scientist Jonathan Barichivich extracted a sample from the tree but did not reach its center. They estimated the sample to be 2,400 years old and used a predictive model to calculate the tree’s full age, with 80 percent of possible trajectories suggesting it is 5,000 years old.

The World’s Oldest Tree, a Valuable Resource for Science

Beyond its record-breaking potential, the Great Grandfather is a vital information source. “The ancient trees have genes and a very special history because they are symbols of resistance and adaptation. They are nature’s best athletes,” said Barichivich. Carmen Gloria Rodriguez, an assistant researcher at Austral University, added that the tree’s rings serve as an open book, revealing dry and rainy years, fires, and earthquakes.

Please note that the featured image shows a Giant Ancient Sequoia Tree and not the Great Grandfather Tree.

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