When i received the Illustration Friday topic of Aging, I immediately thought of aging trees by counting the rings when a trunk has been sawn through or when a core sample has been taken.
I was initially going to do something connected with tree aging using the Cadzow Oak trees in Chatelherault Country Park, Hamilton.
These trees are enormous and thought to date back to the mid 12th century. They are the weirdest shapes and seem amazingly healthy despite their great age.
This photo was taken a few years back - my kids are standing as scale markers beside the trunk.
These aren't the oldest trees in Scotland; the Fortingall Yew tree has that honour - and that tree is reputed to be between 3000-5000 years old. Yews are very difficult to date due to their
irregularity and the fact that their heartwood often decays. However the Fortingall yew was 56ft wide when measured before souvenir hunters dramatically reduced its girth. [ A stone wall was erected in the 1795 in order to prevent people chipping bits of bark off.]
A bristle cone pine in America is the oldest tree - its thought to be the oldest living organism on earth at about 5000 years old - and this tree is called Methusela.
After pondering on how to work up an illustration about trees, i remembered years ago seeing a huge slice from a tree trunk where historical events had been marked on the relevant tree ring.
So i then wondered about how old different animals live and thought about tying these two things together.
The chart shows the average lifespan of animals i looked up in some encyclopedias and online - there will always be individual animals who live longer and some animals are given some wildly different estimates so for them i have picked a middle value.