Namibian Fairy Circles Finally Demystified

Posted: Jan 19 2017, 7:11am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Namibian Fairy Circles Finally Demystified
In this photo provided by Jen Guyton, one of the mysterious "fairy circles" in the Namib desert that dot the area with circular barren patches. Scientists have come up with a complex theory involving termites and plants to explain what's happening. Photo Credit: Jen Guyton via Phys.org
  • Namibian Fairy Circles Finally Demystified
 

Namibian fairy circles were a strange source of legends and mythology. Yet now they have finally been demystified once and for all.

There are many enigmatic fairy circles that mark the landscape of the desert region in Southern Africa. They were the source of much myth and legend but now it has been clearly shown that they exist due to a natural reason.

The appearance of these large circles on land had puzzled the local natives and experts alike for many years. While inside them, nothing grew, outside them, there was growth. Similar circles have been found in Australia too. 

Fairies and fire-breathing dragons were the likely explanation for many easily-duped individuals and agencies. Yet as Occam’s Razor shows, the actual explanation is one that will be known via its simplicity and obviousness.

It will not need to be very interesting. Via computer simulations, scientists saw that a complex pattern of plants and animals in synch gave rise to these fairy circles. It is a case of simple and elegant geometry on an earthly level, according to Phys.org.

Now we know that termites are considered to create these fairy circles. Their colonies are to blame for the sterile soil within the ambit of the circles. The plants on the edges are those which had complex root systems that allowed them to survive despite the sparse drought-like conditions. 

Calling these fairy circles the “footprints of the gods” as the locals do may serve spiritual purposes, but has no basis in scientific fact. The actual thing which occurs is that the termites eat away at the roots of the plants thus producing the round patches of simple soil.

The plants yearned for water in the desert’s context. Where they managed to eke out an existence, they thrived which was of course on the outer edges of the circles. 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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