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Earth Science

3,500 Year Old Florida Tree Dies of Natural Causes 206

hondo77 writes with an excerpt from The Daily "'Mother Nature claimed one of her oldest living specimens (Monday) in a freak fire that destroyed a 3,500-year-old bald cypress tree towering over central Florida. Known as "The Senator," or simply "The Big Tree," the hollowed-out majestic timber, standing at 118 feet tall, ignited before dawn. Firefighters watched helplessly as the oldest tree east of the Mississippi — and the fifth oldest in the world — blazed and then collapsed in a heap of flaming embers.' The fire likely started by 'either a weeks- old lightning strike that smoldered until combustion occured, or friction caused by buffeting winds that ignited a spark and erupted in flames.'"
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3,500 Year Old Florida Tree Dies of Natural Causes

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  • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Thursday February 02, 2012 @10:30AM (#38902091)


    I read the article, and totally missed that. Kind of an interesting example of conditioning. As soon as I saw the blue email link after the conclusive paragraph, my brain basically said "ok, article is over" and stopped reading. My brain probably assumed the rest of the text was the usual "other thigns you may be interested in" cruft you tend to find.

  • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Thursday February 02, 2012 @10:38AM (#38902173)

    (tree) NERD!!!

    Sorry, couldn't resist!

    Also, someone just pointed out to me that they article actually lists the other 4 trees.. cleverly disguised as "further reading" cruft after the authors email. The thing about the one in California being kept secret is kinda neat though (and not mentioned in the article)! Canada isn't mentioned, but I've seen some _huge_ trees in BC .. wouldn't surprise me if one of them was comparable.

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @11:36AM (#38902711)
    15% of us die of accidents, violence or suicide in our 80 year lifespans. Eliminating all natural causes of death would only extend our lives so much, unless we practiced a culture of extreme safety. (This has been the theme of many scifi stories about immortals.)
    Some trees may essentially immortal, but suffer from weather or animal trauma etc. Almost nothing is alive older than 10K years.
  • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Phat_Tony ( 661117 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:17PM (#38904023)
    People interested by that may also be interested to know the demise of the former oldest living thing in the world, the Prometheus Tree [], which a graduate student cut down so he could count the rings.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus