Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Murder For The Sake Of Science...!

In a move that makes no sense to me at all, we sometimes make stupid moves and call it "scientific" research.

I don't go along with the notion that we have to kill or destroy something to study it. Maybe I'm old fashion, but that's the way I feel! Cutting down something as magnificent as this live tree must have been just to see how old it was...that's crazy!

The Oldest Living Thing To Ever Be Killed By A Human



In 1964, a bristlecone pine tree was cut down in Nevada in the name of scientific research. After counting the rings several times it was determined to be the oldest tree found on earth. Incidentally it had been alive when cut down, and an emotional and political storm followed.

In 1964, Donald Currey was looking for evidence concerning the “Little Ice Age,” a period of time between approximately the years 1300 and 1800 where the Earth’s temperature presumably dropped slightly, reaching its lowest point sometime in the 1600s. He was hoping to find a tree that had lived through this entire period so that he could study its growth rings. He got much more than he bargained for.

He located a tree in what is now Great Basin National Park in Nevada and decided to use a Swedish tree-coring tool to take a sample. However, the wood was quite dense, and the tree was large, and at some point he got his coring tool stuck. Too stuck to get out . . . without a chainsaw.

So he asked the Forest Service District Ranger if he could cut it down. At this point, nobody knew how old these trees really were. They were living in a harsh climate, had grown slowly and laboriously, and the tree he was asking about was a gnarled, beaten-looking tree, appearing somewhat puny at only five meters (17 ft) tall. The District Ranger checked with his superior to make sure it was okay and, after getting permission, went with Currey to help him cut it down.

After laboriously cutting down, chopping up, and hiking out pieces of the tree, the real work began—counting the rings. When he had counted them all (more than once, just to be sure), it appeared that the tree was over 5,000 years old. At the time, this made it the oldest known tree in the world. And he had killed it.

Unbeknownst to him at the time of the cutting, there were actually a small group of people who loved the trees in the stand from which he had cut . . . and they had even named them. The tree he cut down was named Prometheus, and the cutting of Prometheus became a powerful symbol in an ensuing battle over whether science is worth the cost of the resources it destroys.

The media and public went to town with accusations. Politicians got involved. Different agencies responsible for the natural resources of the area blamed each other. Local newsman Darwin Lambert wrote a paper titled “Martyr for a Species.” Words such as “murder” and “rape” were thrown around carelessly. But ultimately, nothing was decided, and the world eventually moved on.

It is now estimated that the tree was closer to 4,800 years old rather than the original guess of more than 5,000. It’s not as easy as just counting the rings because a new ring is not necessarily produced every year. Just think: We might never have known about it at all if Donald Currey hadn’t gotten the Forest Service to cut it down.

Thanks to the site KnowledgeNuts for showing just one more way that we look the fool trying to appear smart! Almost makes you sick to your stomach, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning! About time for some donuts, don't you think?

17 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

Since bristle-cone pines are just little things, I assume that it's a redwood or something in the photo.

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
I have no idea about how big a 4000 bristlecone pine can be.

Still, it's a shame it was cut down!

Thanks for coming by today!

Chickenmom said...

People do stupid things sometimes. Wonder what they did with the tree? It would have been nice if the wood was used to make something useful.
Donuts? Save the chocolates one for you know who!

Momlady said...

And the information gleaned was important to what? Geesh. I'll have a jelly donut, please.

Sixbears said...

They kill enough people for science, so why not a tree?

Sad, but true.

Coffee perking on the woodstove this morning. 30 degrees out.

linda m said...

What man won't do in the name of scientific research! What a really dumb thing to do. When you think of all the experiments that have gone bad it boggles your mind. Save a donut for me.

JO said...

Now if it was a State Park or National what gave the rangers the right to make that decision. Why is it so important to know how old a tree is to anyone? Isn't it bad enough our need for wood has destroyed so many forests already.
Disgusting.

Now I am really needing another cup of coffee!

Dizzy-Dick said...

We rape and desecrate our wold and then wonder why it doesn't always love us. I guess sometimes it retaliates with storms, earthquakes, and droughts.

Bob from Athens said...

Well we can at least be thankful that some developer didn't want to put a shopping mall or a bunch of condos there.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
They probably used the stump to make toothpicks or something!

Many wood workers would have probably love to have some of the tree to work with!

Thanks for coming by today!



Hey Momlady...
As far as I can tell, used for one man's search for the age of the tree!

Jelly donut coming up! Thanks for coming over this morning!



Hey Sixbears...
That is so true, my friend! Gotta do that "important" research, no matter the cost!

Thanks for dropping by today!



Hey Linda...
You're right! This has dumb written all over it!

I appreciate you coming over!



Hey Jo...
No way to know just what these guys were thinking! Maybe they weren't thinking at all!

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by today!



Hey Dizzy...
I can certainly see why Mother Nature gets angry at times.

Thanks for the visit this morning!



Hey Bob...
That is a small blessing for sure! Today, though, the mall may be sitting there!

Thanks for coming over!

edifice rex said...

What I think about people who do that sort of thing is rather harsh and probably best left unsaid...hopefully one day, we will have better sense.

HermitJim said...

Hey Anne...
Not really too many nice things can be said about this kind of research, that's for sure!

I sure appreciate you coming by today!

butterbean said...

Howdy Hermit Jim(my that's a great name JIM) I sure gave it a BAD REP!!

Bristlecone pines live at the TOP OF THE TREELINE and are short, snarly, wind-tortured & twisted specimens, NOWHERE NEAR THE SIZE of that log, in the pic...
NO DOUBT A TREE-HUGGER FALSEHOOD!!!

Hope the coffee and pastries create a HAPPY DAY!!!

Mamahen said...

Such a shame......I wonder at the stupity of mankind at times like these....Got a donut left? Any kind will do but if there is a pumpkin one that would be great :)) Have a good day n thanks for the invite!

Barney (The Old Fat Man) said...

Great post. The tree section shown is not from the tree in question according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus_(tree) .
However it is still a shame to have chopped that tree down. I do like my trees.

HermitJim said...

Hey Butterbean...
I just put the picture that was attached to the article. I've never seen a bristlecone pine, so I'm ignorant about what they look like!

I do thank you for coming over today!



Hey Mamahen...
Some crazy stuff done in the name of research, that's for sure!

Thanks for coming by today!



Hey Barney...
The shame is that it takes so long to regrow what we cut. Really sad!

Thanks, Barney, for coming over!

Gabor Ami said...

I don't understand what all this fuzz is about. It is a tree! Not a human and even not an animal. Just a tree and only one tree, not a whole forrest or anything like that. Don't you people have more serious problems to think about? Millions of animals are suffering because they are abandoned or abused, millions of children do not have a home. People are starving etc. who gives a shit about one tree?

By the way, understanding the climate of the past can be very useful to understand the climate of the future, and it could give some ideas of the seriousity of the current climate change. The whole globe could profit from that knowledge including the other 5000-year-old trees that are still alive.