How many trees do you think there are on earth? In the not too distant past (shortly before the proliferation of weather/GPS satellites) scientists estimated that the earth was home to somewhere around 400 billion trees. This guess seemed quite logical at the time but once we were able to take a look from above and do some more informed estimates we realized how low that number was. For example, the Amazon basin alone is home to 390 billion trees. The most researched and respectable estimate today puts the number of trees on earth at 3.04 trillion. In the White Mountains of California there is the oldest known living tree, a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine that was cored and dated (by Edmund Shulman and Tom Harlan) at 5,065 years old. If this is indeed the oldest living tree on the planet that means that when it first sprouted from the soil, none of the other 3.04 trillion trees existed yet. It also means that all the other trees alive at that time aren’t alive anymore. With the right amount of care and a little bit of luck, who knows what some simple things might someday become. [Ryan Nimmo]
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