Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tree 7,000 years older than the entire universe...

...if you are a Young Earth Creationist who dates the entire universe as approx 6,000 years old.

Go here.

At 13,000 years, tree is world’s oldest organism. It began life during the last ice age, long before man turned to agriculture and built the first cities in the fertile crescent of the Middle East. It was already thousands of years old when the Egyptians built their pyramids and the ancient Britons erected Stonehenge.

The Jurupa Oak tree first sprouted into life when much of the world was still covered in glaciers. It has stood on its windswept hillside in southern California for at least 13,000 years, making it the oldest known living organism, according to a study published today.

“Ring counts show that the Jurupa Oak is growing extremely slowly. At its current rate of about one twentieth of an inch [of growth] per year, it would have taken at least 13,000 years for the clone to reach its current size. And it could be much older,” said Michael May, a member of the research team.

The Institute for Creation Research (a Young Earth Creationist organization) will start work on trying to debunk this right away, I guess.

8 comments:

theObserver said...

Well, the 8000 year old Bristlecone Pine tree didn't bother them so I doubt a 13,000 old tree will either.

Indeed, it seems the "existence of migrating ring-disturbing events" is far more likely than the bible being wrong.

Or good old reliable Trees were likely created with tree-rings already in place theory.

*facepalm*

Chthoniid said...

But wouldn't creating trees with rings already in place, be a waste of effort? If God is an intelligent designer, there is no need to have old trees already in situ, as younger trees would perform the same ecological functions (actually better as a means of solving those pesky GHG conditions around the era of the creation*)- and natural succession would cause older trees to emerge in a natural mosaic.

Oh, and does anyone know if bristle cones are C3 or C4 carbon fixing species? Greenhouse Gas effects would only boost growth if it was a C4 species (IIRC), but C4 species are generally distributed in the tropics, rather than the temperate zone.


* No, I'm not accepting ID/Creationism, that's sarcasm.

Leah said...

Have you seen the report from The Onion: Sumerians Look on in Confusion as God Create World

Craig McQueen said...

That's assuming the extrapolation "at its current rate [of growth]" is correct.

jimvj said...

Some creosote bushes, also in California, are estimated to be 11700 years old. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creosote_bush)

Trivia: The tallest trees (CA redwoods), the oldest trees (used to be bristlecones), and the largest trees (Giant Sequoias), are all in California.

chthoniid said...

The thing about extrapolations about tree growth rates, is that they tend to be more reliable as the time period considered extends. Good and bad growing seasons tend to average out.

If you want to throw in an ad hoc defensive assumption that the tree grew much faster you need a natural explanation for why. Greenhouse effects won't do as the plant isn't a C4 species, so its ability to fix carbon will hit a hard constraint early on. To halve the age of the tree, you'd need to double the growth rate over its entire life history. That can't be done. I can with modern silvicultural techniques, generate small scale increases in the time-to-maturity of commercial tree stocks*. The scale of the changes needed here are orders of magnitude higher.

Hence, there is no natural cause that would cause a dramatic rise in the growth rates.

It's age is comfortably well beyond the age posited in YEC stories.

Billy said...

Taking the date of the flood to be around 2300 BCE, We also have the bristlecone pine (prometheus) at about 4862 years old when it was cut down.
Fundies often claim some other tree from "just after the flood" is the oldest living organism. Trouble is that they dont like it when you ask them how it was dated as it means they have to accept that older dates are valid too.

Here is a list of old clonal colonies http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o
f_long-living_organisms

We also have 250 million year old bacteria http://news.bbc.co.uk/1
/hi/sci/tech/978774.stm
who'd be a fundie?

Anonymous said...

mock all you want. I'll be looking down on you all in hell for a lot longer than 13000 years.