A Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii) growing in the highlands of northern Greece has been dendrocronologically dated to be more than 1075 years old.
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This makes it currently the oldest known living tree in Europe. It is one of more than a dozen individuals of millennial age, living in a treeline forest high in the Pindos mountains.
Considering where the tree was found, and its venerable age, the scientists have named this individual "Adonis" after the Greek god of beauty and desire.
"In our research, we try to build long chronologies to construct climate histories, so finding living trees of old age is one of our motivations. To age the tree, we needed to take a core of wood, from the outside to the centre. The core is one meter and has 1075 annual rings," said dendrochronologist at Stockholm University, Paul J. Krusic.
According to the study, this tree has basically remained untouched for over a thousand years.
The scientists hope the annual variations of the tree rings from trees like this and those fallen in centuries past, yet still preserved on the ground, will provide an informative history of climatic and environmental conditions, going back thousands of years.
The Life of the Oldest Pine:
941 – Adonis is a seedling. The Byzantine Empire is at its peak. From the North, the Vikings reach the Black Sea.
1041 – Adonis is a 100 years old. In China, a book is published describing gunpowder. A man called Macbeth is crowned King of Scotland.
1191 – Adonis is 250 years old. The universities of Oxford and Paris are founded. The third crusade battles Saladin in the Holy Land.
1441 – Adonis is 500 years old. The Ottoman empire conquers Greece. Many Greek scholars flee to the west, influencing the Renaissance. In Sweden, the first parliament is held in Arboga. Johannes Gutenberg is about to test his first printing press.
1691 – Adonis is 750 years old. Isaac Newton has formulated his Laws on Motion. Ice cream, tea and coffee are introduced in Europe.
1941 – Adonis is a millennium old. World War II is ravaging the world. Greece is occupied by Nazi Germany, Italy and Bulgaria.
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Source: Stockholm University.