fun fact for the day: there's a Quaking Aspen grove in Utah that has 50,000 trees that are all actually just one tree. Its name is Pando and it's 80,000 years old.

less fun fact: human action significantly impacts Aspen colonies. A combination of drought, cattle grazing, and overzealous fire suppression (which lets smaller plants block their sunlight) has led to their gradual decline across the North American West.

Pando in particular hasn't grown larger for 40 years, and is thought to be slowly dying -- though it is far from dead, and many people are trying to save it. It needs time free of cattle to let saplings regrow.

there's so much to be upset about on Earth right now, but somehow the fact that we're slowly killing what may be the oldest and largest living organism makes me the saddest.

(okay technically there are extremophile endoliths on the ocean floor with a metabolism so slow that their generation time is 10,000 years, and any given one could be millions of years old. but Pando is the oldest living macroorganism)

@jacethechicken when Pando was a few thousand years old Neanderthals were still around

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