Tree ring dating techniques

Beginnings of Dendrochronology Methuselah (estimated birth 2832 BCE) is a bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California, which, at 4,838 years old, is the oldest living organism currently known and documented.It is named after Methuselah, a biblical figure reputed to have lived 969 years.

The tree was a member of a population of bristlecone pine trees growing at treeline on the lateral moraine of a former glacier on Wheeler Peak, in what, since 1986, has been Great Basin National Park, in eastern Nevada.

Wheeler Peak is the tallest mountain in the Snake Range, and the tallest mountain entirely within the state of Nevada.

A few years later, this was increased to 4862 by Donald Graybill of the University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.

However, the ring counts were done on a trunk cross section taken about 2.5 m (8 feet) above the original germination point of the tree, and so the innermost, lower rings were missed in the count.

Adding in the years required to reach this height, plus a correction for the estimated number of missing rings (which are not uncommon in trees growing at treeline), it is probable that the tree was at least 5000 years old when cut.

This makes it the oldest unitary (i.e non-clonal) organism ever known, exceeding the Methuselah tree of the White Mountains' Schulman Grove in California by about 200 years.

In either 1958 or 1961, a group of naturalists who admired the grove in which the tree grew gave names to a number of the largest or most distinctive trees, including Prometheus.

The designation of WPN-114 was given by the original researcher, Donald R.

The bristlecone pine population on it is divided into (at least) two distinct sub-populations, one of which is accessible by a popular interpretive trail.

Prometheus however, grew in an area reachable only by off-trail hiking.

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