Rachel Sussman is an American photographer and environmentalist who started, more or less by accident, photographing the oldest plants in the world. By the time she finished The Oldest Living Things in the World
, a wonderful book of photographs and essays, she had visited every continent and seen hundreds of ancient organisms. Most of the ages come from radiocarbon dating, which makes for all sorts of uncertainty. The oldest things include a clonal colony of aspen trees named Pando, which may be as much as 80,000 years old, and bacteria from Siberian ice that seem to be 400,000 years old. One of the weirdest is the Llareta, an alien-looking green mound that inhabits the edges of the Atacama Desert.
I love these ancient, ancient trees.
So if you like this sort of thing, find a copy of The Oldest Living Things
, or at least visit Sussma's web site.
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