Health Editor’s Note: How would you like to be 16 million years old and be responsible for telling tales of old?……..Carol
A 16-Million-Year-Old Tree Tells a Deep Story of the Passage of Time
by Riley Black Smithsonian.com
Paleobotanist Scott Wing hopes that he’s wrong. Even though he carefully counted each ring in an immense, ancient slab of sequoia, the scientist notes that there’s always a little bit of uncertainty in the count. Wing came up with about 260, but, he says, it’s likely a young visitor may one day write him saying: “You’re off by three.” And that would a good thing, Wing says, because it’d be another moment in our ongoing conversation about time.
The shining slab, preserved and polished, is the keystone to consideration of time and our place in it in the new “Hall of Fossils—Deep Time” exhibition that opens June 8 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The fossil greets visitors at one of the show’s entrances and just like the physical tree, what the sequoia represents has layers.
Each yearly delineation on the sequoia’s surface is a small part of a far grander story that ties together all of life on Earth. Scientists know this as Deep Time.