Hanging in harnesses 80 feet above the rainforest floor, I realize Ruth and I might be the first humans to have ever been in the canopy of this living fossil, Pleodendron costaricense. This extremely rare tree is a member of the cinnamon family and part of an ancient lineage. Although large, this tree only first came to the attention of botanists in 1998 and was not formally described until 2005. It has never been propagated. Only four mature fruit-producing individuals have ever been found. So, Ruth and I are going to extreme measures to try to save it from extinction by climbing into the canopy to collect its fruits and seeds. Ruthmery Pillco Huarcaya is an Indigenous Peruvian botanist – passionate about saving rare and threatened rainforest trees – and is the botanical manager at Costa Rican NGO Osa Conservation, as well as a student at Kew Botanical Gardens. I, however, am a tree climbing wildlife ecologist focused on the animals that live up in the rainforest canopy, so I have a couple of camera traps in my backpack to try and discover what animals eat the fruits and disperse the seeds. Botanist Ruthmery Pillco Huarcaya ascends into the canopy of a rare ‘living dinosaur,’ Pleodendron costaricense. Photo courtesy of Andrew Whitworth/Osa Conservation. If we can propagate the tree and ensure that its wild seed dispersers can do their job, we might be able to prevent the extinction of this rare beast. Pleodendron costaricense is what ecologists classify as a…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer