Make love, not war.
This week we continue looking at the oldest and biggest tress in the world, but instead of looking up we’re going underground to have a look at a root system. A clonal root system, to be exact. You’ve seen Old Tjikko, the oldest living clonal tree in the world, but old Mr. T is not the oldest living clonal system in the world. That honour belongs to Pando The Trembling Giant, a colony of Quaking Aspen trees in Fishlake National Park in Utah.
Pando is an ancient clonal root system and although the individual trees live for about 130 years the root organism itself is estimated to be 80,000 years old. Pando was alive when early humans were first migrating out of Africa and it would be about 65,000 years before human eyes even reached the Americas to see Pando.
Pando is more than a group of trees that have withstood the test of time. Pando is actually just one tree; all the aspens of Fishlake National Forest are part of the same organism… Genetic testing has helped confirm that each tree in the forest is the same organism reproduced over and over again with only slight genetic variations.
Instead of spreading seeds, the clonal grove extends its roots in a process called “suckering.” New “trees” shoot up alongside the old ones, looking like new seedlings — but they actually belong to Pando’s extensive root system, which is why the different trees present nearly identical appearances. They’re essentially clones of the existing foliage.
Scientists believe that every tree in the Pando colony shares the same root system. The result is one of the largest and oldest living organisms on earth and a remarkably resilient forest. Pando’s deep, connected roots have allowed it to survive millennia of fires, droughts, climate shifts, and diseases.
Pando is big, too. It covers 107 acres and weighs in at an estimated 6,615 tons which makes it the worlds heaviest living organism. By comparison, a blue Whale is a lightweight at only about 200 tons. Pando is currently threatened by over-grazing of deer and elk, but a conservation project has been implemented and fences seem to be successfully working.
So there you have it. I think we can safely say that Pando is definitely the oldest and the biggest tree in the world.
Check out the full article and a few more photos at All That’s Interesting.
As somebody famous once said, we are the pale blue dot. From far enough away, invisible. Insignificant. Tiny. An isolated speck in an isolationist universe. In the cold mountain air, I found the stars had an extra sharpness at night. Humans can go so far in that darkness, but it is laughably close on the grand scale of galaxies. Here’s a peek into the great universe, as taken by me in Austria:
But as much as I want to be just excited about another scientific and technological achievement, it’s hard to disconnect from the news today. Humans can be so selfish, and inconsiderate, and greedy, and destructive. Anyway, here’s Muriel Rukeyser back in 1968:
I lived in the first century of world wars.Most mornings I would be more or less insane,The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,The news would pour out of various devicesInterrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen.I would call my friends on other devices;They would be more or less mad for similar reasons.Slowly I would get to pen and paper,Make my poems for others unseen and unborn.In the day I would be reminded of those men and women,Brave, setting up signals across vast distances,Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened,We would try to imagine them, try to find each other,To construct peace, to make love, to reconcileWaking with sleeping, ourselves with each other,Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any meansTo reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves,To let go the means, to wake.I lived in the first century of these wars.
It appears to be the second century of these wars. And the universe goes on and will go on without us, because humans are just that important. I just wish we could be selfish enough to consider mutual survival.
Potholer 54 delivers an excellently researched video, as usual. I have just watched it and since I have nothing better to post at the moment, here it is.
Unfortunately there is still one big hurdle in the way progress here. I wanted to actually buy an electric car, but unfortunately the upfront costs are still to prohibitive for me. No matter how much the prices of electric cars have fallen, the purchasing cost of an electric equivalent of my current car are three times higher. Whic means I would have to save up money for three years to get that car. And in the mean time I would not have any car whatsoever.
The signs of autumn from Nightjar,
These are the four signs that I look for every year before I can safely declare autumn has arrived. Leaf colour, autumn snowflakes, mushrooms and green grass. I was able to check all four boxes by the end of October, which is good!
Let me start off by saying that I miss rocks. I grew up on the Canadian shield, and granite outcroppings were a regular fixture of my childhood, along with mica-and-quartz hunting, breaking beaver dams and catching leeches in the pond.
And while I miss all of those things to greater or lesser degree, I wasn’t prepared for my own rather overly emotional response to seeing large pieces of rock (as in, cliffs and boulders you can stand on and not individual erratics but part of a mountain!). I went up the mountain in Macedonia expecting a nice view, but got a shoe full of quartz fragments (pocket, but nevertheless) and tears in my eyes. It was beautiful. Well, kind of dull and brown and grey, but beautiful.
And then! Coming down the mountain (I have a story about this but I will place it with some pleasant picture of flowers in a later post) I saw many more incredible rocky things that warmed the cockles of my heart. Behold.
More after the break, but first, here’s your song.
This photo is just a delight. It’s always a wonder when we can catch a glimpse of such a cautious wild creature. It came from Avalus who says,
A foxmother, that lives in an abandoned Garden just next to the house I live in. She has three cubs, but I only have this one image, as I usually meet them only when it is to dark for photos.
She has her eye on you, Avalus. Thanks for sharing.
The finalists of the 2018 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are out, and they’re a blast. Here’s a couple of my favourites:
And lots more…
Today’s piece of music is more of a dance showcase, in the theme of colourful animals. Below the fold because spiders.
The trees are doing something odd out in northern Ontario:
In the forests of northern Ontario, a “strange phenomenon” of large natural rings occurs, where thousands of circles, as large as two kilometers in diameter, appear in the remote landscape.
Via this link: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Aerial-photograph-of-forest-rings-with-diameters-of-approximately-150-m-in-northern_fig1_292337890, which leads to a very scientific article on the phenomenon.
The article assures us that this is nothing unnatural or particularly mysterious:
Indeed, as geochemist Stew Hamilton suggested in 1998, the rings are most likely to be surface features caused by “reduced chimneys,” or “big centres of negative charge that frequently occur over metal deposits,” where a forest ring is simply “a special case of a reduced chimney.”
Reduced chimneys, meanwhile, are “giant electrochemical cells” in the ground that, as seen through the example of forest rings, can affect the way vegetation grows there.
I’ve been out there and it looked fine to me, but things get even weirder and weirder the more I read – but that just might be the full article going in all kinds of directions, especially at the end. But the tree rings are cool. And maybe it’s aliens…
Autumn is definitely in the air around here. The days are cooler and the nights are crisp and Jack couldn’t be happier. You see, the boy hates warm weather. His fur is thick and because he ocean swims in the summer he doesn’t lose his undercoat. He also has a bit of a fat pad that makes it even harder to stay cool. So when the weather turns and autumn comes Jack gets energized. Even now at 10 years old he is full of piss and vinegar. I don’t mind at all. Go ahead Jack and use that tail to clear the coffee table. Scratch my floors with those talons of yours and bark at every passing car. It was a long hot summer, but it’s finally time to have some fun.
rq has sent us a little series about various flowers and their residents. First one is goldenrod, and it looks like Solidago canadensis, which is quite common throughout Europe. Sadly this beautiful plant is not only strong allergen in the late summer, here it is also an invasive weed that is damaging the environment by outcompeting local species and creating essentialy monocultures in places.
But enough with being a killjoy – they are beautiful and that is important here and now.
We’re on to chapter 4 of Ice Swimmer’s series, Harakka, an Island and today we’re heading toward the water. I’m always drawn to big, open water and these photos show off the sea beautifully. I’ll let Ice Swimmer fill you in on the details.
The western shore of Harakka is visible from Uunisaari and one conversation with Nightjar in the comments of a posting with a picture of Harakka from Uunisaari sparked the idea to go and explore the island.
There is a path from near the northwestern corner of the Artists’ Building to the other side of the earthworks behind the building. The path leads to cliffs on the western shore of Harakka. When looking southwest from the path one can see some islands, but also open sea.
This photo was taken in a place called Terracotta Natural Park and it’s right in the heart of Pointe Claire. It’s a huge park (almost 100 acres) with lots of connecting and well maintained trails. It’s one of Jack’s favorite places to go, but unlike our woods at home I won’t allow my boy off-leash here because of the threat of coyotes. We’ve never seen one ourselves, but there are signs posted at every entrance to the park advising extreme caution and noting that they’ve been spotted in the area. My husband grew up near the park and we’ve been taking our dogs to it for about 15 years and this is the first time we’ve seen such warnings. That probably means there’s an established population of coyotes. And why not? The park is exactly like their natural environment and it’s filled with their natural prey plus it has the added bonus of human leavings. As their environments shrink or die all animals, including large predators, will move ever closer to populated areas just trying to eke out a life and avoid extinction. I think they have as much right to the land as we do. Maybe more. At least they’re not destroying the planet.