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The Methuselah Tree is a Bristlecone Pine Tree, named after the oldest person in the Bible whose age is given at death is 969. The tree is generally held to be one of the oldest living, individual organisms on Earth, measured at 4,842 years and counting. The Bristlecone Pine species can take 700 years to grow 3 feet.

It is located in the Bristlecone Forest of the Ancients, in Inyo National Park, in the White Mountains of Eastern California. Its precise location has not been divulged out of concern for its protection. Bristlecone Pines do not grow particularly tall, reaching 50 feet, with a trunk diameter of anywhere from 8 to 12 feet, making for a squat, solid tree, but what they lack in grandiose height they more than make up for by outlasting every other single organism on the planet.

Methuselah still isn’t the oldest known. That was Prometheus, which was at least 20 years older than Methuselah now, before it was mistakenly cut down in 1964 by a dendrology student who had no idea how old it was. Prometheus might have been 5,000 years old or more, and Methuselah shows no signs of disease or weakness in any way. Researchers expect it to reach 5,000.

Let’s put that into perspective. It sprouted out of the ground in c. 2832 BC. Back then, Egypt’s Second Dynasty was just getting going and the earliest Egyptian pyramids would not be built for another 200 years. Methuselah is about 800 years older than the Maya civilization. Biblical literalists like to theorize that the Methuselah Tree was the first living thing to appear on Earth (aside from the things in the various boats) after Noah’s Flood. That’s dubious, at best, but it’s a fun idea.

(Source: weirdisms)

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