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Europe's Oldest Living Creature May Reveal Secrets From The Past Thousand Years

Adonis was already 750 years old when Isaac Newton formulated his Laws on Motion

Photo via Dr Oliver Konter, Mainz

A group of researchers recently discovered the eldest inhabitant of Europe. Adonis, a Bosnian pine tree in the Pindos mountains of Northern Greece, has lived through wars, the birth of nations, and both the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires over its epic 1,075-year lifespan.


The researchers, a group of scientists from Stockholm University, the University of Mainz and the University of Arizona, identified the age of the tree by extracting a one-meter in diameter core of its wood and counting its rings. They’re hopeful the rings will also reveal details about climate history.

”It is quite remarkable that this large, complex and impressive organism has survived so long in such an inhospitable environment, in a land that has been civilized for over 3000 years," Swedish dendrochronologist, Paul J. Krusic, leader of the expedition that found the tree, said in a statement.

Though Adonis is a relatively rare find, it does not even come close in age to the world’s oldest living tree, a 5,000-year-old bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California.

According to CNN, Adonis, named after the goddess of beauty and desire, was 100 years old when Isaac Newton discovered the laws of motion. Krusic said of the millennium-old tree, ”I am impressed, in the context of western civilization, all the human history that has surrounded this tree; all the empires, the Byzantine, the Ottoman, all the people living in this region. So many things could have led to its demise. Fortunately, this forest has been basically untouched for over a thousand years.”

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