Oldest living tree-world record set by a Swedish
17] UMEA, Sweden--The world's oldest living tree on record
is a nearly 10,000 year-old spruce that has been discovered
in the Dalarna province, Umea
University said on Thursday.
Photo: The world's oldest recorded
tree is a 9,550 year old spruce in the Dalarna province of
Sweden. A favourable climate has produced an upright
trunk since the beginning of the 1940s. Photo: Leif Kullman
Researchers had discovered a spruce with
genetic material dating back 9,550 years in the Fulu mountain
in Dalarna, according to Leif Kullmann, a professor of Physical
Geography at the Umea
University in northwestern Sweden.
That would mean it had taken root in roughly
the year 7,542 BC. "It was a big surprise because we thought
until (now) that this kind of spruce grew much later in those
regions," he said.
Scientists had previously believed the
world's oldest trees were 4,000 to 5,000 year-old pine trees
found in North America.
The new record-breaking tree was discovered in
Dalarna in 2004 when Swedish researchers were carrying out
a census of tree species in the region, Kullman said.
The tree's genetic material age had been calculated
using carbon dating at a laboratory in Miami, Florida.
Spruces, which according to Kullmann offer rich
insight into climate change, had long been regarded as relatively
newcomers in the Swedish mountain region.
The discovery of the ancient tree had therefore
led to "a big change in our way of thinking," he said.
In the Swedish mountains, from Lapland
in the North to Dalarna in the South, scientists have found
a cluster of around 20 spruces that are over 8,000 years old.
Although summers have been colder over the past 10,000 years,
these trees have survived harsh weather conditions due to
their ability to push out another trunk as the other one died.
The tree probably survived as a result of
several factors: the generally cold and dry climate, few forest
fires and relatively few humans.
Today, however, the nature conservancy
authorities are considering putting a fence around the record
breaking tree to protect it from trophy hunters.
Source: Umea University, agencies