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. Australian Chance To Get A Piece Of PreHistory

Currently only 100 adult Wollemi Pines are known to exist in the wild. Photo courtesy of www.wollemipine.com
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Mar 31, 2006
A dinosaur-era tree long believed extinct went on sale in Australia Thursday, giving any gardener the chance to plant some prehistory for under 45 US dollars. A park ranger discovered a small stand of Wollemi Pines in mountains outside Sydney in 1994, stunning botanists since the trees were virtually unchanged since the Jurassic period 200 million years ago.

Last October collectors paid thousands of dollars for cuttings of selected Wollemi Pines at a special auction which marked the official "coming out" of the trees, believed to have been extinct for at least two million years.

Now everyday gardeners can purchase a 40 centimeter (16 inch) sapling of the Wollemi -- known as the "living fossil' -- for 60 Australian dollars (42 US) or a 60 cm plant for 100 dollars from nurseries around Australia or online at www.wollemipine.com.

Licences to plant the pine have also been granted in Britain, Europe, Japan and New Zealand.

Royalties will be used to fund the conservation of the trees -- currently only 100 adult Wollemi Pines are known to exist in the wild -- and of other rare and threatened plant species, organisers said.

"The combination of the Wollemi Pine's ancient history, link to the dinosaurs and mysterious discovery in 1994 has captured the imagination of the general public," said Barbara McGeoch, general manager of Wollemi Pine International.

"When it was discovered, it was like finding a dinosaur alive today," she said. The tree can grow up to 20 meters (66 feet) high.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Wollemi Pine International

Going Deep
Moss Landing CA (SPX) Mar 31, 2006
Some of the most arresting images of life on our planet have come from the deep-sea world of hydrothermal vents. Massive chimneys belching superheated fluids, colonies of giant crimson-tipped tubeworms swaying in the current, swarms of tiny shrimp, albino crabs.

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