A tree in Greece has been dated at an astonishing age of 1,075 years.
It may not look like much, but this stubby tree in northern Greece is something special: it is the oldest known living thing currently in Europe — 1,075 years old, to be exact, based on dating methods utilized by an international team of researchers.
The Bosnian pine was dated using dendrochronology, which is a scientific analysis of tree rings, according to a Stockhold University statement. Swedish dendrochronologist Paul J. Krusic, who led the expedition, said that many years ago he had read a thesis about a forest in Greece that intrigued him, and finding old trees helps scientists construct climate histories, so he decided to undertake an adventure.
Scientists were able to take a core from the outside to the center of the tree’s trunk without damaging the tree. They called the tree Adonis, after the Greek god of youthful beauty — a little bit of scientist tongue-in-cheek humor.
The tree impressed the researchers by surviving so long in such a generally inhospitable area, and surrounded by western civilization dating back to the Byzantina Empire.
“It is quite remarkable that this large, complex and impressive organism has survived so long in such an inhospitable environment, in a land that has been civilized for over 3000 years,” Krusic said in the statement. “Many years ago I read a thesis about this very interesting forest in Greece. In our research, we try to build long chronologies to construct climate histories, so finding living trees of old age is one of our motivations. To age the tree, we needed to take a core of wood, from the outside to the center. The core is one meter and has 1075 annual rings.”
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