100 million and still surviving

In the Cambridge University Botanical Gardens stands a Giant Redwood tree call the “Dawn Redwood.”  It stands more than 70 feet tall – the height of an eight-story building.

But its height is not what makes it special.  It’s special because its ancestry can be traced back 100 million years to when the dinosaurs still reigned, and when it flourished in what is now Great Britain.  Until 1941 scientists only knew of it through fossils and thought it had been extinct for at least 5 million years.

It was rediscovered in 1941 in a village in Szechuan, China.  Its journey back to Britain was interrupted by war.  Butin 1948, a seed reached Cambridge, where it was nurtured and flourished.

The Dawn redwood can now be seen through Great Britain.  Unfortunately, it is seriously endangered in China.

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About Terry Sissons

Terry Sissons is the author of The Big Bang to Now: All of Time in Six Chunks, and this blog is a dialogue about the universe and what’s happened in the last 13 billions years.
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