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Arborists are bringing the “dinosaur of trees” back to life (qz.com)
80 points by pseudolus 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 31 comments

For those skipping straight to the comments, these are not "Jurassic" trees as the headline may suggest, but rather a species wiped out due to being "felled for timber more than a century ago."

Not even wiped out: redwoods still exist. But the biggest trees were destroyed.

Ah. My mind jumped to the Wollemi pine and such.

In a weird way, I hope this goes horribly wrong, and the super trees become an invasive species that results in an apocolypse of unstoppable forests that dominate the globe.

Would you feel the same way about an ancient bacteria or similar that wipes out all life from the past 500 million years?

I assume not (at least for the majority of readers); it's instructive to consider why one feels trees are more in tune with nature than some lowly bacteria, or as the original implication made, more in tune than humans too.

One must consider the possibility of such idle speculation before passing such judgement.

Can trees destroy humanity? No, they move pretty slowly and we can defeat them with axes and fire. And we've been doing just that and show no signs of stopping. If trees take over the world again, that can only happen in a world already devoid of humans. With climate change upon us, this is a "good" future for our planet -- intelligent life may arise again in a planet full of tall trees. It's a much better future to picture, than a planet like venus or mars.

Can bacteria destroy humanity? Yes, we've bred them to be immune to antibacterials -- imagine some ancient bacterium which wiped itself out by being too lethal, gaining antibacterial resistance through cross-contamination in a lab. But it wiped itself out before the invention of airplanes, and suddenly it's capable of spreading faster and further than before. It's a stretch, but almost plausible. CRISPR might help somebody make it a reality.

I have thought about this regarding viruses. But bacteria make it some how more frightening

Well, considering there are plenty of humans who can spend their entire day, for perhaps weeks on end, without really ever seeing any nature, I don't think that's too much of a leap to say. Hard to be "in tune" with nature than interact with it.

But, I think your bacteria comparison is rather poor, given that nobody ever said anything about trees wiping out all life.

Perhaps my point was too obtuse. I was really getting at the fact bacteria, trees and humans are all alike to Nature, and it is thusly indifferent to them all.

I think one can salivate at the idea of being able to cut down unlimited amounts of trees without guilt.

It would be really cool to make one into a house. It might be a little cramped but you could make five plus stories?

I've seen people on Instagram making treehouses before and they made way more than five stories about it.

I think parent meant living in the tree.

I know; I was being facetious.

Sounds like the backstory of a particular episode of the long forgotten show Space:1999 where the protagonists are put on trial by trees for murdering a flower. If you're a nostalgia buff you can watch it on youtube [0].


I remember about a Space 1999 episode in which they find a planet where the animals have gone extinct. They eventually figure out the last group of animals tried to stand out the plants but failed.

Maybe it is related to that episode you mention?

It's the same. Season 2, Episode 8 "Rules of Luton".

See also: the drive to return the American Chestnut to the forests of Appalachia.


Read Richard Power's novel the Over Story [https://www.amazon.com/Overstory-Novel-Richard-Powers/dp/039...] to read much and much more about the fascinating life cycle of redwood giants.

I'll second the recommendation. Richard Powers is an incredibly talented author. It's somewhat off topic but many years ago he also authored a great book on AI (Galatea 2.2) that wasn't alarmist but focused more on the human element.


There’s high humidity and lots of morning dew in Florida. Would that be sufficient to grow one of these?

Also how hard would it be to genetically engineer these to be c4 photosynthesizers?

During the dry summer season, redwoods rely on the dense fog that is prevalent along the northern California coast to get their water. Since it rains a lot more in Florida, I would say that they wouldn't need to rely on the dew. That said, redwood roots are very shallow, and I don't think they'd withstand hurricanes that well.

I think the temperature is a little problematic. Florida is probably too warm for these trees. Plus, redwoods in general thrive where there is very little there to begin with, like a fire, as primary successors. Florida is too biodiverse and would choke out any redwood seedlings.

I think they would rot in Florida. If the bugs didn't eat them first.

There is a close relative to these trees in Florida though. The Bald Cypress. Those tree that grow in swamps with "knees" coming up for air.

Same family as the Redwood (Cupressaceae).

Why is mykowebhn dead? It is true, redwoods would be destroyed by hurricanes.

I've seen a lot of insta-dead comments lately. I'm wondering if there's an automated moderation system getting out of hand, or if they really are (for instance) attempts at ban evasion.

If you go direct to the comment (click on the posting time), you can "vouch" for comments you think should be un-killed.

Might be too warm for this species. But if it would grow, I'd put one in my backyard.

> A mature redwood can sequester up to 250 tons or more of carbon dioxide during the photosynthesis process.

What is the time scale of "the photosynthesis process"?

IIRC for a field of wheat growing on a summer day with blue skies and no wind, the photosynthesis process takes just 30 minutes to deplete the CO2 in the air above the wheat. After that the process becomes diffusion limited.

The timescale it takes for a tree to grow. The carbon matter in wood comes from CO2.

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