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"Methuselah Tree"

PBS Airdate: December 11, 2001
Go to the companion Web site

NARRATOR: This tree is the oldest living thing on earth. Nearly 5,000 years old, it is called Methuselah, named after the longest lived of all the biblical patriarchs. Enduring droughts and storms, it was a seedling when the pyramids were built. But this tree is not in Egypt. It grows near Las Vegas, on a remote hillside. Methuselah's hidden connections to thousands of years of human history are only now being discovered. No one paid much attention to this living fossil, until one man became obsessed with extracting its secrets. Relentlessly he probed, uncovering clues to our prehistoric past. His discoveries led to a startling idea: that this magnificent tree could hold the key to immortality itself. But the Methuselah tree has an enemy. Will it survive to let us unlock its secrets?

Major funding for NOVA is provided by the Park Foundation, dedicated to education and quality television.

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And by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you.

NARRATOR: Your roots go a long way back, two and a half thousand years before Christ was born. Twenty-six foot tall and still growing, you are the oldest living thing on earth. Rock solid and transfixed, you've taken life slowly, unlike our human race. That's us down there, Las Vegas, glowing in the desert. Are you sad? Are you jealous? If you could speak what would you tell us?

METHUSELAH:
    Once you had garden of Eden.
    Now you have this.
    A playpen in the desert. Bliss.
    Here, 5,000 years of civilization
    Can be experienced in an instant.
    Have a nice day. Enjoy.
    For in a flash it could all be over.

    Kings, emperors, deities,
    Craven images cast in plaster, neon lit.
    Look on my works,
    Ye mighty, and despair.
    The smell of money in the air,
    A tawdry son-et-lumiere.

    Your immortals are mortal, they were once flesh and blood.
    Escape the delusion, the noise and pollution
    The true immortals are made out of wood.
    They call us bristlecone pines.
    They call me Methuselah.

NARRATOR: You live in the White Mountains of California, where the climate is so harsh little else can survive. It's no surprise you look more dead than alive. Adversity is the secret of your success. You have taught yourself to thrive in this parched landscape with little food or water. Like war-time children, brought up on a meager diet, you far outlive your vigorous cousins further down the mountain. Your scrawny bodies atrophy on the outside, while preserving a hidden vitality within. You survive on a lifeline only 10 inches wide, a stripe of bark-covered tissue which manages to carry all essential nutrients from your roots to your needles.

The slow pace of life keeps you slim. We humans could take a leaf out of your frugal lives. It takes a hundred years to add an inch to your waistline. Could it be that deep within your cells you hold the key to immortality?

Your secret seemed safe in this rocky wilderness until one day in 1957 a scientist walked into your life. The scientist's name was Edmund Schulman and he was about to make the most exciting discovery of his life. In the cross section he removed from your body, he counted over 4,600 rings, each representing exactly one year of life. By inspecting the width of each ring, he could tell what kind of a year you'd had and whether the climate had promoted growth. Hidden within your trunk was a record of weather and time of unparalleled age and accuracy. Bristlecones were 1,500 years older than any other tree previously studied. Having found the oldest tree of all, he named you Methuselah.

METHUSELAH:
    Methuselah, Methuselah this human
    christens me, for he has counted
    the candles on my cake... 4,600.
    Am celebrity now, and no mistake.
    Am named. Am given voice.
    The years, like necklaces bestow
    a wisdom, humankind can never know.
    Millennia, they come and go.
    Have no eyes, but have seen it all.
    Ancient civilizations that you can
    Only read about, Methuselah has sensed.
    Am not part of history... No,
    history is parts of me.

NARRATOR: Twenty-five-sixty-six B.C., not long after you'd taken root, the largest stone building in the world is about to be occupied. King Cheops, had built the great pyramid of Giza as a tool for himself. He is lying on his deathbed. The Pharaoh exhales for the last time. His breath contains millions of carbon dioxide molecules. Imagine those molecules of spent breath cast adrift into the atmosphere. Riding the jet stream, crossing oceans and continents. A few reach a land that would later be called America. Perhaps you were too young to remember. You were a mere sapling when one entered your body through a tiny pore of a needle.

Drawing energy from the sun, you split these molecules asunder. The oxygen is for us, the carbon for you. Your complex chemistry bonds the carbon atoms into sugar that fuels your growth. And that's how a molecule from a dying breath can give life to one of your new cells.

When King Cheops died, you were nine inches tall and only 77 years old. During your first 1,000 years, civilizations in the world beyond come and go.

Then one day you had your first encounter with humanity. These hunters were Paiute Indians who for 3,000 years followed Longhorn sheep into the White Mountains leaving behind evidence of their brief visits.

MICHAEL DELACORTE (California State University): Are you getting much over there?

WOMAN: Not much, just a few flakes.

MICHAEL DELACORTE: Here we go. Well this is a...a naturally occurring volcanic glass, obsidian, that's extremely abundant in this part of the world. This is a...a volcanically active part of the world. It's very easy to work. It produces extremely sharp edges. It's wonderful for us, as well, because it can be sourced to particular flows and so we can use it to understand where people are coming from and where they went. We can reconstruct in quite a bit of detail the annual rounds of people at different times in the past by looking at the sources of obsidian that they...they collected and used.

NARRATOR: From the location of the obsidian lava flows archaeologists have established that the Indians would cover a distance of 150 miles in the course of a year. In the six weeks of summer when the weather opened up the mountaintops for hunting they would venture up to your domain.

MICHAEL DELACORTE: Small groups, probably mostly hunters, would come up to these highlands, hunt for a period of maybe a few days or a week, try and get some meat and maybe even dry it or partially dry it and then return down to the...the valleys where living conditions were a little better. This is an extremely harsh environment. The air is thin. The wind is incessant. It is not a comfortable place to be. Here it is the middle of July and I'm wearing a down vest to give you some idea of just how harsh conditions are.

NARRATOR: One summer it was so cold that it left you scarred for life. The few cells that grew that year were damaged when the water inside froze up, expanded and burst the cell walls. Tree rings were examined under a microscope. The jagged black line clearly showed cell death in the year 1627 B.C. What could have caused temperatures in that year to fall so dramatically? Could tree rings be a record of some cataclysmic event in another part of the world?

METHUSELAH:
    Unlike words, tree rings never lie.
    One year was freezing cold and dark
    The sun was hidden in the sky
    I tasted brimstone and it left its mark
    Like a noose tightening, like a charred wreath.
    What is this thing, I thought, called death?

NARRATOR: That acid taste of death came from a distant island in the Aegean Sea. The eruption of the volcano on Santorini was probably the biggest bang in history. Its devastating effects are thought to have wiped out the Minoan civilization of Crete. The exact date has always been in dispute. Could a tree 7,000 miles away provide the answer?

Scientists now think that the volcano shot a plume of ash into the stratosphere which spread as far as China and North America. The thick veil of dust blocked the sun causing temperatures to plummet.

METHUSELAH:
    You can read me like a book
    Open me up and take a look:
    History laid bare, a garland here
    a crown there. Plain as a pikestaff
    for all to see. Each year jotted down by me.
    The state of the nation, an annual report
    in ever decreasing circles. The wheels
    of fortune, the cycles of despair.

NARRATOR: The Santorini frost ring made people realize that tree rings could date events in antiquity with incredible precision. But since the early 1960s, a group of tree scientists have been frustrated by the limitations imposed on the art by the age of the oldest living tree. They wanted a dating instrument that would go back much further.

This man, Tom Harlan, spends his time combing groves for pieces of dead bristlecone that may be even older than you.

TOM HARLAN (University of Arizona): By taking cores and sections out of logs and dead trees, we can overlap our record and go further back in time. So here we have living trees just very close to 5,000 years old. But, by utilizing the logs and snags and what we call remnants, just the fragments of wood that are lying on the ground, we go back to the year 6,700 B.C. or 8,700 years ago as a continuous record.

NARRATOR: His technique is to slide together sequences of rings from wood of different ages until they line up. By 1969 the world had it's first unbroken dating record, going back nearly 9,000 years. It was a perfect reference, which could be used to check other dating systems. It arrived at a time when the complicated chemistry of carbon-dating was found to be flawed. Carbon-dating depended for it's accuracy on there being a constant level of radioactive carbon in the atmosphere. However in the 1960s this was found not to be the case. Bristlecones came to the rescue. Scientists took wood of a known date and then subjected it to radio carbon dating to see how far out it was. They discovered it could be out by as much as a thousand years. Archaeology was turned on its head. Dates always assumed to be right were wrong. The leading theory of how European history evolved had to be revised. You see we'd all believed that the influence of the Eastern Mediterranean had radiated outwards to the barbaric north. We'd thought Stonehenge was inspired by the sophisticated Mycenaeans of Greece. In fact it turned out that Stonehenge was built long before.

That's why you and your kin are known as the trees that rewrote history.

While Europe was sliding into its dark age, you were entering middle age. When you were three and a half thousand years old you may recall a great change in the White Mountains. The nomadic Paiute Indian hunters began putting down roots of their own.

MICHAEL DELACORTE: About 1300 years ago, so 500, 600 years after the birth of Christ, we start to see a very different pattern where entire families or households would move up here to the highlands for many weeks or even a...a couple of months in the summer. And they spent a long time up here exploiting the environment much more intensively than they had during that earlier hunting pattern. And that suggests to us that things in the lowlands, where living conditions are generally a little easier in one sense—it's certainly warmer—must have been pushed...pushed to the point where all of a sudden these uplands became more worthwhile to exploit more intensively.

NARRATOR: The rising population forced families to move up to 12,000 feet where they established the highest settlements in America.

MICHAEL DELACORTE: In most instances we would have probably seen one, two, three families inhabiting one of these villages in any particular summer. Women probably would have spent a lot of their time collecting roots like bitter root, Louisia, then also the seeds of a lot of these grasses. It's hard to imagine—when you look at them the seeds are so tiny—but those two were collected and eaten, while men probably would have spent most of their time hunting in more distant areas for mountain sheep. Yet none of us working in this area, doing archaeology in this area had any suspicion until, oh, about 12, 13 years ago that people lived in this...in these harsh uplands, in these kind of settled permanent villages. We always suspected that a little bit of hunting would have been, would have been going on up here in the summer months, but we had no notion that this kind of intensive village occupation was occurring. Methuselah might have been a little bit worried at times as he watched people starting to use some of these ancient trees and ancient timber to build these houses, to stoke their fires, to build hunting fences and that sort of thing, so maybe even a little bit of anxiety.

NARRATOR: Anxiety was soon to turn to terror, not only for you, Methuselah, but also for the Indians. The white man was coming.

The white immigrant took his time getting to California. By the 1860s, the canyons around you were echoing to the sounds of rocks being crushed and sifted. Prospectors were searching for silver and gold. Some continue to this day. Alan Akin has been working these hills for 40 years. He barely makes enough to pay his way.

ALAN AKIN (Gold and silver prospector): There's knowledge and skill involved in prospecting but there's always that element of chance since you can't really see underground. There's a...it could nevertheless fail and no matter how poor something is there is at least some possibility that it could turn out to be something great. So, honestly, I'm sure I've spent a lot more than I've ever made but I still have hope. There...there's always the odds that in enough time your...it's bound to pay off for you, you know? Whether it'll pay you back for all the time you spent at it is very doubtful but, well you spend enough time at it, sooner or later you're bound to find something good.

NARRATOR: If one prospector hit pay dirt, thousands of others followed. Each time a seam of silver or gold was struck, they swarmed all over the mountain staking their claim, greed being the human curse. The richest silver mine was called Cerro Gordo. In 1870, it supported a town of nearly 5,000 people, a wild and lawless place.

Ex-Hollywood actress Jody Stewart still lives in this ghost town.

JODY STEWART: This was an extremely violent town. There was a murder a week in Cerro Gordo. There are 600 people buried up on the hillside, the hanging tree is laying down Canyon. We have one building, the Belshore House, that has 156 bullet holes in the living room floor.

NARRATOR: And Jody knows how they got there.

JODY STEWART: Dance, ha ha.

MIKE PATTERSON: At night you would hear a little dance hall music and some gunfire, and you would hear rock hammers and drills striking into the hard rock, and probably an occasional black powder explosion as somebody shot a round. The atmosphere here was fairly Dante-esque. At first it was I think a small mining camp. With...with investment came the large smelters. I've read accounts where they called Cerro Gordo—which means Fat Hill—they called it Old Smoky. The smelters were belching smoke 24 hours a day. There were at least two large ones that were burning several cords a day; I guess, probably...maybe 10, 12 cords a day.

METHUSELAH:
    If I had lungs I would be coughing
    A throat, I would be parched
    If I had eyes they would be stinging
    Flesh, it would be scorched.

    Sulfur, smoke and cinders
    enfold me like a shroud
    There is no silver lining
    only poison in this cloud.

NARRATOR: The smoke was a by-product of the extraction of molten silver from the ore. At its height, the mine yielded 2,000 tons of silver a year.

MIKE PATTERSON: Freighting silver bars was always a problem. And at one time the production from the hill was so great that between 18 and 30,000 of these 83 pound bars stacked up waiting shipment by wagon. And the workers were stacking the bars like bricks and stretching canvas over the top and living in them, so they were really living in silver houses.

NARRATOR: But success for the human spelled disaster for the Bristlecone.

Wood was needed to fuel the smelters, to shore up mine shafts and to build houses. For miles around you the hills were stripped bare, the air filled with the silent chemical screams of dying trees. Your defenses were triggered. When bristlecone skin is broken the needles release evil-smelling chemicals called turpinoids. These are highly effective against insect attack, but are useless against axes and saws.

You were not the only victims. The Paiute Indians suffered a similar fate. Ranchers moved cattle into the valleys to feed the miners. The cattle ate the grass seeds that formed part of the Indians' staple diet. And the miners hunted the long horn sheep almost to extinction. The Indian way of life could no longer be sustained.

The Paiute Indians, who had lived alongside you for over a thousand years, were swept from the valleys within half a decade. Yet these mining towns were never more than a flash in the pan. The town of Rhyolite boomed for seven years, boasting banks, swimming pools and even an opera house. Then when the silver ran out, the town went bust and the desert reclaimed the streets.

The metal that drove men mad is bad for you too. When your roots reach out in search of water and nutrients, they absorb dissolved silver. But you've learned how to deal with this poison by filtering out the silver molecules and depositing them inside your cells. When your cells get older and die, resin surrounds them, sealing the toxic contents forever within your trunk. The problem for you, Methuselah, isn't silver, but water.

You live in one of the driest places on earth. You can only quench your thirst during the six weeks of the year when the winter snow melts around your roots. You've adapted well to your limited supply. Why waste energy on frivolous growth when one set of needles can last 40 years? The design of your needles minimizes water loss. Specially recessed pores ensure that no precious moisture is lost. The pores remain shut most of the time, unlike those of other trees which use and lose gallons a day.

In the desert every drop of water counts, except it seems, in Las Vegas.

METHUSELAH:
    Water, water everywhere and not a drop...
    To think that down there, battery trees
    Like plumped up turkeys stand proud and vain.
    Bloated and unaware that they are but a switch's
    throw away from death.

    Water, water not forever...
    For twenty-four hours a day, fountains play,
    Spraying graffiti that mocks a desert kept at bay.

NARRATOR: How profligate we must seem to you, when a golf course consumes a million gallons a day, whereas you can get by on a hundred gallons a year.

In Las Vegas, humans regard the conspicuous display of water as a sign of luxury. One hotel has 200-foot high fountains. There's even a fake Lake Como. Las Vegans use a staggering 300 gallons per person per day.

Las Vegas is booming. It's the fastest growing city in America. Each year, 60,000 people move here and 15,000 new houses are built. Street maps are out of date even before they're printed. What you see before you is a display of human power over nature.

METHUSELAH:
    But nature has a way of saying "Enough."
    After the pride there comes the fall
    After the boom, the bust.
    Remember man that thou art dust,
    And unto dust...

NARRATOR: Sixty miles from Las Vegas was a town specially designed to boom and bust. They called it "Doom town."

So, Methuselah, you survived the Bronze age, the Iron age, even the Machine age, but how did you fair in the Nuclear age?

We were on the brink of the Apocalypse, the culmination of half a century of human tinkering with the nature of matter. 1957 was a strange year. Whilst Edmund Schulman and his colleagues were collecting data from the bristlecones around you, 100 miles away, the atom bomb was being tested in the desert below.

DOUG POWELL (Edmund Schulman's Assistant, 1957): These bomb tests would come off early in the morning and a number of people would walk up to a height where we could see the flash of the bomb. And when I look back on it now, it was remarkable. We...we were just sort of almost oblivious to the...to anything like radioactive fall out. It was a big event and there was a shock. I mean, we would see the glow and the earth would shake, and I mean, we...it was like a definite boom. It was something almost of a lark event to just see this, I mean just this manifestation of what the human being could do. It was a scientific achievement.

NARRATOR: One hundred thirty miles east of this "achievement" was a Mormon town called St. George. It lay directly downwind of the bomb. Agatha Mannering was in her garden and was given no warning of what was to come. She became a human guinea-pig.

AGATHA MANNERING: When that went off, I was lifted off of the ground. It just came and hit me up through my feet. Then I could see this gray cloud rolling in, just rolling in. And I just stood there and watched it. If I'd've had any sense I would've run and hid in the closet or something, but this cloud just rolled in there and I stood there and I smelled it. It had a horrible, nasty smell. I began to feel bad and my throat began to burn, my sinuses began to burn and my head became prickly like ants was stinging the top of my head. But now I always would bathe, but this night I felt too bad to. That was the first time I can remember feeling so bad I didn't want to even bother bathing, and that's the one time in my life I needed to.

And I've had a pile of cancers over my face and body. Now I'm a genealogist and I know what my forefathers died from way back, and none of them ever had cancer. But all of this generation has had cancer. You know the...so many of the people died. There was one or two blocks in St. George that there wasn't a house on that block but what someone died of cancer.

NARRATOR: You were lucky to be upwind of the test site. That's how you escaped so lightly with only a trace of Strontium 90 in your rings.

But for scientists like Edmund Schulman, the 1950s remained a golden age of innocence and aspiration. He spent three glorious summers in bristlecone country coring a thousand trees. His aim was to construct a complete weather record of Western America. He was your greatest fan and never ceased to marvel at your triumph over adversity. Struggling with a failing heart in the thin air of the mountains, he came to wonder almost fancifully, if trees like you held the secret of living forever.

DOUG POWELL: He was facing his own mortality, and obviously had difficulty with breathing and all, and this is why I was working with him. And so one surprising bit of conversation which came up several times in the several weeks that I was with him, is that he would say that somehow he would hope that—he used the term elixir—that some substance could be distilled from these old trees that the human being could somehow absorb and then would be a factor in longevity in the human beings, that the tree could impart it's adaptation to adversity to the human being. It seemed to me out of place with the rest of his work. Here he was, the very careful scientific method of this extreme care in counting rings, analyzing everything that he said here and then branching off into this other, that struck me as a...that definitely...that he had left the science behind.

NARRATOR: Ironically, in attributing bristlecones with such supernatural qualities, Schulman may have been closer to the truth than he realized.

LEROY JOHNSON (US Forest Service, retired): In 1972, we came up and visited the Schulman grove here. And we walked down and saw Methuselah and noticed that it had a single cone on it. So it suddenly struck us that it would be interesting to find out if a tree that ancient, a tree that was almost 5,000 years old, would be able to produce viable seedlings and viable seeds. So we made arrangements to collect the single cone and we extracted the seed. There were 96 seeds and we planted the seeds in our nursery. We got 100 percent germination, which for us was absolutely astounding. And they were all healthy seedlings, also.

NARRATOR: The genetic material contained within your seeds is perfectly preserved. Our cells are programmed to die.

LEROY JOHNSON: There's no indication that there's a built-in senility to the tree. Methuselah could live forever. There...there's no indication that it can't. It's very robust sexually and it seems to be growing healthily, although very slowly, and each year it puts on incremental growth, both height and diameter, but it's...it's a perfectly healthy, vigorous tree. So, at least theoretically, Methuselah could live forever.

NARRATOR: What's your secret? Is it your Spartan existence, a slow metabolism guaranteeing your place in Never Never Land? Perhaps one day by studying your most personal chemistry, scientists may unravel the elixir of life.

In 1958, the man who became so intrigued by your longevity succumbed to human frailty.

MAN: And now, dearly beloved, let us sing Amazing Grace.

NARRATOR: Schulman died at the age of 49. A memorial service was held in the shadow of your branches. Since then, other scientists working with bristlecones have died prematurely. Is this a curse, Methuselah? Revenge for Schulman's final gift to the world?

He wrote an article for the National Geographic magazine, celebrating the bristlecone, so that others could share the wonder of these trees. But his gesture backfired. Tourists swarmed up the mountains to try and find you. They marveled at the idea of the oldest of living things. In fact they liked you so much, they tore bits off for souvenirs. Others were driven by more serious intent.

DON CURREY (University of Utah): When I was starting graduate school, my mother sent me an issue of The National Geographic that had a major article in it by Edmund Schulman and this was fascinating. I'd never heard of bristlecone pine. And so I was on the look out for them.And I began to see them as I was doing some graduate research in the Rocky Mountains and then out into the Great Basin. Bristlecone pines are out there. And it was a kind of a sense of discovery, "Wow here's another mountain range with bristlecone pines. I wonder how old they are? I wonder what they can tell us?"

NARRATOR: Don Currey was a geography student, and the article made him realize that bristlecones might help him date glacial deposits in Nevada. On the crest of a glacial moraine, a particularly old and grizzled specimen caught his eye. By pure chance he'd chosen a tree that would turn out to be even older than you. But he was faced with a problem.

DON CURREY: The normal approach to coring the tree wasn't working because the largest available increment bores were too small to core even from several angles.

NARRATOR: Not having the experience to know what to do next, Currey took a more direct course of action.

DON CURREY: So we cut the tree down and captured from the tree a thick cross section about a foot thick.

NARRATOR: He took the slab back to his motel room and started to count the rings.

DON CURREY: We could begin to see that we were getting over 4,000 years, over 4,500, over 4,600, which was the oldest record that had been reported in the literature up until that time. And we ended around 4900 years. And you've got to think, "I've got to have done something wrong. I better recount. I better recount again. I better look really carefully with higher magnification."

NARRATOR: It was only then that the full horror of what he had done began to dawn on him. He had discovered the world's oldest living thing and killed it. Fate had dealt a cruel blow.

DON CURREY: The tree that ended up being cut was literally the first old tree that we climbed to on the crest of the lateral moraine. Five minutes of looking is all that was involved.

NARRATOR: Fate had one last hand to deal the victim of Currey's chain saw. The slab was laid to rest in the casino of the small town it once looked down on.

METHUSELAH:
    Men drop to the earth like leaves
    Lives as brief as footprints in snow.
    Bristlecones enthroned on top of the world
    Watch civilizations come and go.
    They seek our secret, immortality,
    But search in vain, for it is vanity.
    If truth be known I would rather
    be a flower, or a leaf that lives
    and breathes with brief intensity.
    My life is as thin as the wind
    And I am done with counting stars.
    On the side of this mountain
    I might live forever.
    Could you imagine anything worse?
    My name is Methuselah and this is my curse.

TOM HARLAN: When Schulman died he left quite a few samples that he never had a chance to examine, and a number of years after his death, I went through dating many of these samples and I discovered that out on these slopes there is a tree older than Methuselah. And in order to protect this tree, I am not telling anyone which tree it is. Anonymity is its absolute best defense.

On NOVA's Web site, travel to the secret location of the Methuselah tree grove, and explore these ancient trees with stunning 360-degree photography, on PBS.org or America Online, Keyword PBS.

To order this show, or any other NOVA program for $19.95 plus shipping and handling, call WGBH Boston Video at 1-800-255-9424.

NOVA is a production of WGBH Boston.

Major funding for NOVA is provided by the Park Foundation, dedicated to education and quality television.

This program is funded in part by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. Some people already know Northwestern Mutual can help plan for your children's education. Are you there yet? Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.

Science: it's given us the framework to help make wireless communications clear. Sprint PCS is proud to support NOVA.

And by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you.

This is PBS.



PRODUCTION CREDITS

Methuselah Tree

Original Poetry and Narrator
Roger McGough

Voice of Methuselah
William Hootkins

Additional Narration
Joe Morton

Produced by
Ian Duncan
Nicole Davis

Directed by
Ian Duncan

Edited by
Paul Shepard
Stephanie Munroe

Camera
Mike Coles
Richard Comrie

Music
Daniel Pemberton
Ray Loring

Sound Recordist
George Hitchins

Visual Effects
Chris Reynolds

Graphics
Christopher Vass

Production Manager
Jane Lloyd

Assistant Editor
Dan Van Roekel

Online Editor
Fernando Guerreiro

Colorists
Aidan Farrell
Mark Kueper

Audio Mix
John Jenkins

Research
Robert Hartel

Associate Producer
Jennifer Lorenz

Production Assistant
Jennifer Callahan

Archival Material
Antiquity Publications
Keith A. Trexler
County of Inyo, Eastern California Museum
National Geographic Magazine
Laboratory of Tree Ring Research, University of Arizona
Department of Energy, Nevada

Special Thanks
Laboratory of Tree Ring Research, University of Arizona
USDA Forest Service, California
Dr. Martin Bridges, University College London
Ervin Lent
Bishop Piaute Tribe
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Robert Bettinger
Monsignor Ronald E. Royer
Dr. W. Tom Adams, Oregon State University
Dr. Ed Jensen, Oregon State University

Production Administration for Windfall Films
Susan Harvard
Fiona Reid

NOVA Series Graphics
National Ministry of Design

NOVA Theme
Mason Daring
Martin Brody
Michael Whalen

Post Production Online Editor
Mark Steele

Closed Captioning
The Caption Center

Production Secretaries
Queene Coyne
Linda Callahan

Publicity
Jonathan Renes
Diane Buxton
Katie Kemple

Senior Researcher
Ethan Herberman

Unit Managers
Sarah Goldman
Jessica Maher
Sharon Winsett

Paralegal
Nancy Marshall

Legal Counsel
Susan Rosen Shishko

Business Manager
Laurie Cahalane

Post Production Assistant
Patrick Carey

Associate Producer, Post Production
Nathan Gunner

Post Production Supervisor
Regina O'Toole

Post Production Editors
David Eells
Rebecca Nieto

Supervising Producer
Lisa D'Angelo

Senior Science Editor
Evan Hadingham

Senior Series Producer
Melanie Wallace

Managing Director
Alan Ritsko

Executive Producer
Paula S. Apsell

A Windfall Films Production for NOVA/WGBH and Channel 4

© 2001 WGBH Educational Foundation

All rights reserved

 

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