Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The Largest Single Organism on Earth
The largest known organism is not some giant squid or other cephalopod. It's a stand of quaking aspen in Utah known as Pando. What seem to be individual trees are actually just the visible expression of a gigantic underground organism. Every "tree" is connected via the root system. The individual "trees" are genetically identical. (Erroneously referred to as "clones.")
The total size and weight of this organism isn't known with certainty but it's surely more than 6,000,000 kg. The Wikipedia article mentions that Pando is probably the oldest known organism as well, dating back 80,000 years. I'd like to confirm this, if possible. Does anyone know how accurate this date is and whether there is anything older?
Lots of plants are bigger than cephalopods. There are even some mushrooms that are bigger!