Australia has auctioned off hundreds of cuttings of a rare species of ancient pine tree that was thought to be long extinct.

Scientists believe the Wollemi pine species dates back some 200 million years, to a time when continents in the southern hemisphere formed a supercontinent known as Gondwana.

Scientists had thought the trees were long extinct, with only fossils remaining. But in 1994, a park ranger hiking in Australia's Blue Mountains some 200 kilometers from Sydney stumbled across a stand in an isolated canyon. 

Scientists say the species has survived several ice ages and countless natural disasters, and outlived the dinosaurs that once dined on them.

The location of the Wollemi pines remains a secret to protect the trees, but scientists have a project to propagate and sell saplings from cuttings. The sale of nearly 300 brought in more than $1 million in Sunday's auction.

Some information for this report provided by AP.