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Ever since the "living fossil ", Metasequoia glyptostroboides, was discovered during the 1940s in China, accounts of its mysterious discovery and introduction throughout the world have been told many times in different languages. However, information has often departed considerably from the true story. This paper represents a synthesis of more than 1000 original letters, manuscripts and publications both in Chinese and other languages, and addresses two main questions about details of the story: (1) how was the living fossil really discovered , and (2) who introduced the seeds into the U.S.A. and the rest of the world? Several controversies surrounding the course of events are revisited. An appendix summarizes the names and academic positions held by botanists who played a key part in the tree's discovery.

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© 2002 Jinshuang Ma

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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