Scientists have discovered an alerce tree in southern Chile in an ancient forest that could be over 600 years older than the so far oldest known living tree.
The 100 feet tall tree could be 5,484 years old, which is considerably older than Methuselah in California. Nicknamed Gran Abuelo, local people never thought of this being an extremely old tree because it doesn’t have the most impressive size.
To establish the age, scientists took core samples and had to use mathematical systems to estimate the age of the inner core, which seemed to be rotten at this stage.
The Guardian had a report highlighting how this tree has now become an eco-tourist attraction.
“Henríquez happened upon Gran Abuelo while out on a patrol in the early 1970s. Although he was reluctant to disclose the find at first, word soon got out and people began to arrive: now, more than 10,000 tourists trek down to the small wooden viewing platform next to the tree each summer.”
What such finds highlight is how important it is to protect our forests. You can imagine how many tons of CO2 a single tree can filter out of the air in a lifetime when some of them can live for hundreds and even thousands of years.