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The 13,000-Year-Old Underground Forest of South Africa

Complete video at: Photographer Rachel Sussman describes a species of baobab tree found in a particularly dry and fire-prone region of South Africa. The tree protects itself from fire damage by growing primarily upside down, and can live for up to 13,000 years. ----- While we may aspire to live a century, Rachel Sussman documents creatures who don't bat an eye at a millennium or two. Her photography has captured 4,500 year old bristlecone pines, 12,000 year old yucca, 400,000 year old Siberian bacteria, and many other wizened elders, all with stories longer than all of recorded human history. - The Long Now Foundation Rachel Sussman, b. 1975, grew up in Baltimore, punctuated by stints in Santa Fe and Nicoya, Costa Rica. She received her BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in 1998 and has been awarded artist's residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Cooper Union, and Vermont Studio Center. She is currently a member of the Macdowell Fellows Executive Committee and was named Evelyn Stefansson Nef Fellow in 2005. In 2007, she served as Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Artist at Rollins College. Over the past 10 years Sussman has exhibited in the US and Europe. New York venues include the Museum of Natural History, Jen Bekman Gallery, Christie's, New Century Artists, Pierogi, Momenta, Artists Space, Cue Art Foundation and Galapagos Art Space. Her work has also been shown at the LA Design Center, University of Pennsylvania and Vox Populi in Philadelphia, Photography 2005 at the Renaissance Society in Chicago, Stenersenmuseet in Norway, D21 Kunstraum, Pierogi Liepzig, as well as Artnews Projects and Galerie Engler and Piper, Berlin. Additionally, Sussman is an Interactive Producer managing projects ranging for's Homicide and Saturday Night Live sites to educational software employing speech recognition technologies. She also performed trapeze as part of the duo The Amazing Siblings in venues throughout New York, though her acrobatic career was cut short when she was sidelined by a rotator cuff injury.
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