Tuesday, April 6, 2010

tree of the week--not your usual tree-identification method...

The source of this story is
http://www.globaltrees.org/, but I learned it through their Tree of the Week Facebook page, and the tree of the week is:

The Wollemi Pine, or Dinosaur Tree (Wollemia nobilis) is an ancient tree, which was thought to have become extinct about 2 million years ago until it was rediscovered in 1994 in a gorge only 150 km north-west of Sydney, Australia. Once found all over the world, the species now numbers less than 100 mature individuals in the wild.


First of all, I must have you re-compute "extinct about 2 million years ago." That I did not catch right away. I've been around a few species that had been thought to have been extirpated, but due to, you know, fairly recent development, like in the 1960s-1990s.

This leads to what I thought was the best part, in a comment by an administrator:

Good question Eileen, it would seem that nobody had found the trees, as some of the individuals were thought to be over 1000 years old. The tree was reduced to a few small populations in remote areas of the Wollemi national park in the Blue Mountains. One of the National park rangers discovered the species whilst out trekking and brought a sample ... See Moreback to be identified - it was then matched with fossil specimens and the species was 're-discovered'. There is lots more information at www.wollemipine.co.uk

Makes me so proud of that ranger, but what I thought was most freaky about this very exciting discovery, is the necessity of bringing your tree sample back to the office and comparing it to a FOSSIL to confirm the species id.

That. Is. Nuts.

Anyhow, made me happy on many levels. LOVE it. Nice work, folks!!

And, of course, reinforced the incredible importance of setting aside protected lands to preserve our natural heritage. You never know what you'll end up saving.



1 comment:

  1. This is a great site. I love the pictures. FYI, the Emerging Runner team is very focused on trees and the study of invasive species. Have you read The Wild Trees by Richard Preston?


Cool people write inside rectangles....