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A few years later, this was increased to 4862 by Donald Graybill of the University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.These ring counts were done on a trunk cross-section taken about 2.5 m (8 feet) above the original germination point of the tree, because the innermost rings were missing below that point.There had been a movement to protect the mountain and contiguous areas as a national park before the incident, and 22 years later the area gained national park status.In August 2014, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the tree's cutting, a two-day memorial for Prometheus was held in Great Basin National Park by artist Jeff Weiss.By that standard, the oldest living organism is a grove of quaking aspens in Utah known as Pando, at perhaps as much as 80,000 years old.In a clonal organism, however, the individual clonal stems are not nearly so old, and no part of the organism is particularly old at any given time.Adjusting Graybill's figure by adding the estimated number of years required to reach that height, plus a correction for the estimated number of missing rings (not uncommon in trees at the tree line), it is probable that the tree was at least 5000 years old when felled. non-clonal) organism at the time, exceeding even the Methuselah tree of the White Mountains' Schulman Grove, in California, though Methuselah was later redated to 4845 years old.making it the oldest known tree in North America and the oldest known individual tree in the world.

Prometheus, however, grew in an area reachable only by off-trail hiking.There is also some uncertainty as to why a core sample could not be obtained.One version has it that he broke or lodged his only long increment borer and could not obtain another before the end of the field season; another claims he broke two of them, while another implies that a core sample was too difficult to obtain and also would not provide as much definitive information as a full cross-section of the tree.Others, at least one of whom was involved in the decision-making and tree cutting, believe that the tree was clearly unique — obviously older than other trees in the area.At least one person involved says that Currey knew that to be true at the time, although there is no known admission from Currey that he did, and others have disputed that the tree, based on observation alone, was obviously much older than the others.In addition, there are conflicting views of Prometheus's uniqueness in the Wheeler Peak grove.It is reported that Currey and/or the Forest Service personnel who authorized the cutting believed the tree was just one of many large, very old trees in the grove.Another uncertainty is that it is not clear why the felling of such an old tree was necessary given what Currey was studying.Since the Little Ice Age started no more than 600 years ago, many trees could presumably have provided the information he was seeking for that time period.In either 1958 or 1961, a group of naturalists who admired Prometheus's grove gave names to a number of the largest or most distinctive trees, including Prometheus.Currey originally estimated the tree was at least 4844 years old.


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  4. Prometheus was a living member of a population of bristlecone pine trees near the tree line on the lateral moraine of a former glacier on Wheeler Peak, in.

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