This particular tree is just one of thousands that grow atop California 's White Mountains, a high altitude range just east of the Sierra Nevada . Nevertheless, bristlecone pines have claimed these barren slopes as their permanent home.
Using very old trees (such as the Bristlecone Pines in the western U. A.), it is possible to make measurements back to a few thousand years ago.
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They lie in the rain shadow of the Sierras, with an average annual rainfall of 10-13 inches.
Bristlecones grow in other similar areas and were already the focus of much speculation when Schulman arrived on the scene in 1953.