California’s Bristlecones are the Oldest Recorded Trees in the World

Located in California’s Inyo National Forest, the most ancient tree on record—a bristlecone pine named ‘Methuselah’—is over 4,800 years old. Dendrochronologists (researchers who study the science of dating tree rings) discovered bristlecones are some of the oldest individual trees by taking core samples from trunks, which indicate the tree’s chemical, climate and growth history. This method is especially fruitful for future planning. “What we’re seeing increasingly is that a lot of the climate events that we are experiencing and living through right now have no precedent in the paleoclimate record,” says researcher Andy Bunn. Studying bristlecones—which have survived throughout the California mountain’s harsh climate—can offer scientists insight on how to best approach current environmental conditions and conceive of more enduring, future ones. Learn more about these pines and their lasting strength at CBS News.

Image courtesy of CBS News