Meet Pando, the world's oldest living organism

Pando is 80,000 years old. Pando is grove of aspen trees in Utah. Tremble before Pando.


    1. I am sure the opposite. 80 millennia is a long time to be sending pollen out on the wind, long enough to have distant descendants with its own distant descendants. It’s up to you whether that’s as appealing a notion.

  1. And weighs an estimated 6 000 000 kg.

    But, although it is Latin, the word Pando does not sound venerable enough to my mind. It sounds like a cartoon character.

    No. I was wrong. The Great Pando is, of course, a nineteenth century magician.

    1. Yeah, and keep the Irish happy. There are still the Kia Ira, Kia Rira, Kia Pira and Kia Cira to come.

  2. Clonal colonies are neat. Still not sure why they qualify as a single organism, but not other things like for instance a clonal lineage of amoebae or rotifers, some of which are going to be much older still.

    Edit: ok, amoebae do separate, but does that mean they all count as newborns? I know for bacteria at least, you get one new and one older cell, which actually shows some aging. People didn’t mind division when they talked about “immortal” jellyfish.

    Pando, too, has had groves split off in its time, and a new furrow across the middle would hardly make people deny its age. I don’t think nature has drawn such clear lines for us to follow, is what I guess I’m saying.

    1.  It’s a single organism because it’s a single continuous mass. Amoebae and rotifers detatch and go off on their own. Pando is a gigantic root ball with shoots sticking out of it.

  3. indeed and a billion caterpillar generations, can not change the fact that even chuman,have no clue about subdivision and making a 3d model out of nothingness

  4. I stopped there a couple years ago specifically to hang a hammock in the grove(I’ve got ‘a thing’ for trees). The locals mostly don’t know it as Pando, just “that old forest” or somesuch. Unfortunately, there are vacation houses situated right among parts of it. Still beautiful, along with all of Fish Lake and it’s surroundings.

    As an aside, you can recognize individual clonal colonies of Aspens in the fall, by the different rates they change color and lose their leaves.

    (Aside #2 – I happened to camp on the original road into the lake and along comes a guy in his 70’s whose family was coming in for their yearly gathering on the lake. Turns out his grandfather was a ranger there who was one of the folks who slid logs across the frozen lake to build the original lodge(since burnt down and rebuilt). He was quite a talker and I got a ton of local history in the couple of days before his family came in. I didn’t ask, but postulated later that there was a good chance he was conceived at the lake) 

  5. Ok, now I’m curious about how bamboo forest ages stack up, or that one giant subterranean fungus, or the immortal jellyfish…

  6. Old and in Utah?  Dang tree probably has a bunch of McCain/Palin and Romney/what’s-his-face stickers on its’ trunks.

    1. Easy peasy, it was created 5,000 years ago as a 75,000 years-old tree, truly a miraculous act by the god of the desert to test our faith, and a divine sign that we should buy more guns and vote republican.

  7. – science is wrong;
    – it’s a trick to check your faith;
    – god made it seem that way;
    – no one really understands this stuff.

    Take your pick.

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