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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

very Old & still very Alive

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, April 23, 2014/Categories: natural history, photography, art and design

How old is old? You'd be very surprised by some ancient plants.

Rachel Sussman and ~8,000 year old Llareta cushion plant, Atacama Desert, Chile (credit: OLTW)

The question of ancient age attracted the attention of photographer Rachel Sussman in her just released book on to locate the oldest living things on Earth. In her quest, Sussman discovered an plant in Namibia whose existence pre-dates the dinosaurs; a massive grove of aspens in Utah consisting of a single, self-reproducing clone; and a moss covered mountain in Antarctica that likely existed since the last ice age.

As the fine art photographer documented these ancient plant survivors in her photographs, their existence was in danger by one threat or another. Two of her botanical wonders were extinguished before the book was published on April 22nd, Earth Day.

   Clonal Aspen ~80,000 years old, Utah & Antactica Beech ~6000 years old, Tasmania (credit: TOTW )

Here's an earlier TED presentation Rachel Sussman made on her quest as well:

Sussman and her book of amazing photographs gives new meaning to these Methuselah's living on Earth and also the importance of plant conservation.


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