Magazine article American Forests

The Biggest Bristlecone

Magazine article American Forests

The Biggest Bristlecone

Article excerpt

The history books were among, and they'd still be wrong were it not for a clear record of the centuries provided by some of the oldest living things on earth

Carbon-14 dating of ancient European artifacts placed Europe's cultural origins in the Middle East. But when the technique was used to date the wood of bristlecone pines determined from tree-ring counts to be 4,000 to some 8,000 years old, the C-14 dating system was found to be off by as much as five centuries. Bristlecone corrected figures showed that many European artifacts predated their counterparts in the Middle East.

Of the living bristlecone pines that helped rewrite European history, the most ancient one is 4,600 years old. But the National Champion-named The Patriarch by nominator Al Noren -is only 1,500 years old, so it might reign for 3,000 more years ! The Patriarch grows in one of the world's most unforgiving environments, the alpine desert of the White Mountains in California. At 11,000 feet, in the rain shadow of the Sierras, The Patriarch must endure a short growing season, ravaging winds, bitter winters, and only 10 inches of precipitation a year. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.