This ordinary-looking Spruce found in Sweden is the world's oldest tree. Scientists believe that it started growing just after the end of the last ice age, more than 9,500 years ago. Prior to this the oldest trees found had been between 4,000 to 5,000 years old.
Scientists conducting a tree census (obtaining information about every single tree in the region) discovered the tree on Fulu Mountain, Sweden in 2004. However, it was only recently that its age was calculated, using carbon dating - a way to determine the age of archeological finds.
The Spruce was found amongst a cluster of about 20 Spruces, all more than 8,000 years old at an altitude of almost 3,000 ft. Scientists were a little surprised on discovering how long the tree had been there, because until now they had thought that the Spruce was a newcomer to the area. They now believe that it was brought here by the Mesolithic humans (middle stone age period) who lived in the area. The discovery also establishes that the climate in those days was much warmer than it currently is.
The stems and trunks of a Spruce tree only have a lifespan of about 600 years. However, the root replaces them as soon as they die off, allowing the trees to continue living forever.
This new, still unnamed tree, will replace Methuselah the 4,768-year old bristlecone pine from California, which is currently listed as the oldest tree in the Guinness Book of World Records.