1976, Natural History Museum
Bunyanesque trees that have grown on the West Coast for 20 million years
This six-foot slab shows 620 annual rings, so we know that the California tree it came from started life before Christopher Columbus arrived in America. Some have lived more than 2,000 years, making redwoods among the world’s oldest living things. They have been felled to make “bats, barns, bridges, bungalows,” one alliterative botanist wrote, as well as “porches, piles, pails, pencils, pillars, paving-blocks, pipe lines.” Today, about three-quarters of ancient coast redwood forest is protected from logging.