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The bristlecone pine tree (Pinus longaeva) - earth's oldest single living inhabitant - reach an age far greater than any other single living organism*. The oldest bristlecone pines have been alive for a little less than 5,000 years and are found only in Utah and five other western states. Its extraordinary longevity and ability to adapt and survive in extremely harsh environmental conditions above 10,000 feet embodies the investigative spirit and mission of the Center on Aging.

We were honored in 2006 when the Superintendent of the Great Basin National Park, Cindy N. Nielsen, graciously donated two bristlecone pine cones and a small section of a branch to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Center on Aging. Download her letter.

Bristlecone pine tree

Center on Aging images available for download.

*Scientists debate what is truly the oldest living thing. The creosote bush and Aspen trees may be older. However, these achieve their age by "cloning" from their root systems whereas bristlecone pines are the earth's longest living and oldest single living organism.

For more information about the bristlecone pine, please visit the National Park Service Bryce Canyon Bristlecone Web page and the Great Basin Bristlecone Web page.