The oldest living plants

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Fri Feb 01 2002 - 09:02:58 EST

  • Next message: Stein Stromme: "Re: The oldest living plants"

    One of the things that young-earth creationists have claimed is that the
    oldest plants, the bristlecone pines, show that the flood was around 5,000
    years ago. Such claims are made by

            "The oldest living things on Earth, according to the American
    Forestry Association, are the Bristlecone pines that grow on
    the White Mountains of California. They are at least 4,600
    years old, no doubt having spring up from seeds soon after the
    Flood. Again, an indication of a young Earth. And if the world
    is ancient, why are there no trees older than 5,000 years?" ~
    Don Boys, Evolution: Fact,Fraud or Faith, (Largo: Freedom
    Publications, 1994), p. 286

    Similar claims are made in.

    Bruce J. Taylor, "Could the Bristlecone Pine have Survived a Catastrophic
    Flood?" Creation Research Society Quarterly 32(1995):80

    Frank Lorey, "Tree Rings and Biblical Chronology," Impact, 252, June 1994,
    p. iii.

    It has been known since the early 1980s that plants are older than this.
    However, an article out yesterday notes plants even older. This is another
    young-earth argument that is dying on the vine. Part of article follows

    PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) - Along an unremarkable stretch of desert on the
    outskirts of town, just off a road named for singing cowboy Gene Autry and
    tucked amid heaps of garbage raked by winds strong enough to polish granite,
    Jim Cornett thinks he's found the world's oldest living thing.
    Radiocarbon tests now under way may reveal the unassuming creosote bush
    sprouted 11,000 or more years ago, the scientist said, meaning it could
    rival in age another creosote bush growing 50 miles away in the Mojave

    The scraggly creosote pales in comparison to the grandeur of well known
    ancients like the gnarled bristlecone pine and majestic coast redwood.

    Seemingly more dead than alive, the bush isn't big and certainly isn't tall.
    It isn't even very bushy.

    "They're not very exciting," Cornett admitted to a visitor.

    What the creosote bush is, Cornett is fairly certain, is ancient. If
    confirmed, the bush - really a 38-foot, arrow-straight line of genetically
    identical bushes connected at the roots - would trump another creosote bush,
    dubbed "King Clone." That bush, found in 1980 to be 11,700 years old, is
    considered the oldest living thing on Earth.

    "I don't think anyone ever thought a bush would be that old," said Cornett,
    curator of natural science at the Palm Springs Desert Museum.

    In a species that reproduces itself through cloning, any individual is
    theoretically as old as the species. Take King's Holly, a rare Tasmanian
    plant. In 1996, scientists found fossil remains of the plant near the
    holly's only known population.

    The fossils were found to be 43,000 years old, suggesting the existing
    plants had grown in that location for at least that long.

    A box huckleberry colony in Pennsylvania, spread over some 10 square miles,
    is believed to date back as far as 13,000 years.

    In the case of King Clone and the bush now being studied, scientists traced
    one bush, not a population - back in time.”

    ANDREW BRIDGES AP Science Writer “Unassuming bush may be world's oldest
    living thing”

    Published 2:25 p.m. PST Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2002

    The rest ofthe story can be found at:
    accessed 2-1-02


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