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Lab Times



Paul the Postdoc

by Rafael Florés

Picture of the issue


mma Morano, Italy, 116 years old; Ana Ma-

ría Vela Rubio, Spain, 114 years old; Adonis,

Greece, 1,075 years old. During an expedition to

the north of Greece, researchers from the Universities

of Stockholm, Mainz and Arizona encountered one of

the oldest inhabitants of Europe – a Bosnian pine tree


Pinus helreichii

). Sprouting at a time when the Byzan-

tine Empire is at its peak and the Vikings invade south-

ern Europe from the North, Adonis is still standing tall.

“I am impressed, in the context of western civilization,

all the human history that has surrounded this tree; all

the empires, the Byzantine, the Ottoman, all the peo-

ple living in this region. So many things could have led

to its demise. Fortunately, this forest has been basically

untouched for over a thousand years,” says Paul Krusic

from the University of Stockholm. The scientists dat-

ed the tree dendrochronologically, taking a one meter

long core sample of wood, from the outside to the cen-

tre. “In our research, we try to build long chronologies

to construct climate histories, so finding living trees of

old age is one of our motivations,” the geographer says.


Living Survivor

Photo: Oliver Konter, University Mainz

Genetic Engineering Techniques in the Cartoon World