Meet the Giant Sequoia, the ‘Super Tree’ Built to Withstand Fire

When the Grizzly Giant sprouted from the ground in what is now Yosemite National Park, the Roman Republic was nearly two centuries away from forming, Buddhism would not develop for at least more than a century, and the geoglyphs making up the Nazca Lines of southern Peru would not be etched for around 200 years.

At an estimated 2,700 years old (and possibly even older), this giant sequoia is one of the oldest trees in the world—a majestic specimen of a remarkable redwood species that has evolved to withstand the flames that periodically sweep through its environment. Some of these trees, which can grow more than 300 feet tall (about as high as a 30-story building) and dozens of feet wide, are the world’s most massive tree and one of the largest organisms on earth.