Prometheus (tree)

Prometheus (Tree)

Prometheus (tree)

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Prometheus (aka WPN-114) was the nickname given to the oldest known non-clonal organism, a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) tree growing near the tree line on Wheeler Peak in eastern Nevada, USA. The tree, which was at least 4862 years old and likely approaching or over 5000 years, was cut down in 1964 by a graduate student and U.S. Forest Service personnel for research purposes. They did not know of its world-record age before the cutting (see below). However, the circumstances and decision making process leading to the felling of the tree remain controversial, with different extant versions regarding the decision to cut the tree; not all of the basic facts are agreed upon by all involved. The nickname of the tree refers to the mythological figure Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. The designation WPN-114 was given by the original researcher, Donald R. Currey, and refers to the 114th tree sampled by him for his research in Nevada's White Pine county.

About the tree

Prometheus was a member of a population of bristlecone pine trees growing near the tree line on the lateral moraine of a former glacier on Wheeler Peak, in what, since 1986, has been Great Basin National Park, in eastern Nevada. Wheeler Peak is the highest mountain in the Snake Range, and the highest mountain entirely within the state of Nevada. The bristlecone pine population on this mountain is divided into (at least) two distinct sub-populations, one of which is...
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