Rachel Sussman
  • This 5,500-year-old Antarctic moss bank lives right around the corner from where the Shackleton Expedition was marooned 100 years ago on Elephant Island, Antarctica. For over a decade, contemporary artist and Guggenheim fellow Rachel Sussman has been documenting the world's oldest living things in a critically acclaimed project. She has shared a selection of her images with ABC News, but more images can be seen on her <a href="http://www.rachelsussman.com/"target="external">website</a>.
    Rachel Sussman
  • This 9,950-year-old Spruce Gran Picea tree in Fulufjallet, Sweden is like a portrait of climate change. The mass of branches near the ground grew the same way for roughly 9,500 years, but the new, spindly trunk in the center is only 50 or so years old, caused by warming at the top of this mountain plateau in Western Sweden.
    Rachel Sussman
  • 2,000 to 3,000 year old Stromatolites in Carbla Station, Western Australia. Straddling the biologic and the geologic, stromatolites are bound cyanobacteria; organisms that are tied to the oxygenation of the planet that began 3.5 billion years ago, setting the stage for the rest of all life on Earth.
    Rachel Sussman
  • Fire destroyed much of this clonal colony of Huon Pines (as seen in this photograph) on Mount Read, Tasmania, but a substantial portion of it survived, some of which is 10,500 years old. The age of the colony was discovered by carbon dating ancient pollen found at the bottom of a nearby lakebed, which was genetically matched to the living colony.
    Rachel Sussman
  • 2,000 years old Welwitschia Mirabilis in Namib-Naukluft Desert, Namibia. The Welwistchia is primitive conifer living only in parts of coastal Namibia and Angola where moisture from the sea meets the desert. Despite appearances, it only has two single leaves, which it never sheds. It is the national plant of Namibia.
    Rachel Sussman
  • 2,000+ years old La Llareta. What looks like moss covering rocks is actually a very dense, flowering shrub that happens to be a relative of parsley, living in the extremely high elevations of the Atacama Desert in Chile.
    Rachel Sussman
  • At 100,000 years old, the Posidonia sea grass meadow in the Balearic Islands, Spain was first taking root at the same time some of our earliest ancestors were creating the first known "art studio" in South Africa. It lives in the UNESCO-protected waterway between the islands of Ibiza and Formentera.
    Rachel Sussman
  • Bristlecone pines in the White Mountains of California are the oldest unitary organisms in the world, known to surpass 5,000 years in age. In the 1960's a then-grad student cut down what would have been the oldest known tree in the world while retrieving a lost coring bit. A cross section of that tree was placed in a Nevada casino.
    Rachel Sussman
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