That' doesn't sound reliable.Rand wrote:
This is why I think it is important to carefully examine the branching structure of the crown of the tree. If the Sherman is the result of the fusion of two co-equal trees, than the branching pattern from both parent stems should still be visible,
At 1000 yrs. to 2000 yrs. there's little branching "pattern" to speak of other than maybe on reiterations that are 50 yrs. old or something similar. Even on 100 yr. old trees of redwood and other species, I find so much change and breakage happening, that pattern fades. When I think of pattern, I think of the whorls of new growth being predictable in the first new growth of a pine, etc., or Douglas fir. Even by 80 years, I find Doug firs that had already broken tops that divided, grew and begin to either break apart or press tight together.
That's why I find the simplicity of the tree's own witness though shapes and lines a better language it can communicate with. Related, I find an obvious easy to find tree like Boy Scout redwood contrary to what you said. It's a twin stem half way through the process of concealing it's double stem. At the moment, it parts overhead making it's origin easy to figure out. But in another 500 years, the gap can close. But relating to your speculation, the lower and mid part of that tree have virtually no limbs or closed-over branch wounds to show anything pertinent about branch "pattern" related to origin of form.
Speculating about branch marks far overhead could be futile, because it could be from a double stem origin, or breakage overhead with twin, or more reiterations. That's why I prefer to look for shapes and inclusion revealed by the tree starting near ground level as much as possible. And especially when it's on both sides, and continues up the tree quite a ways.
Going the opposite, looking for something overhead that only makes it half way down, never goes farther than a nothing-burger if the base lacks the evidence.