Scientists Clone Earth's Oldest Living Organism
Though the Lomatia Tasmanica was discovered by man less than a hundred years ago, carbon dating shows that the trees are more than 43,000 years old.
Having survived all of that time apparently unmolested, the plants have now fallen prey to a root rot disease known as phytophthora, which is spreading through the surrounding grasslands. In an effort to save the trees, which reproduce naturally by cloning themselves, botanist Natalie Tapson from the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens has begun cloning the trees herself. This way, even if the trees succumb to the deadly root rot, their species will live on-- possibly for another 43,000 years.
Image: "Lomatia tasmanica" by shantavira on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.Tweet