NAMIBIA’S fairy circles are bizarre phenomena that have long been one of nature’s most baffling mysteries, until now.
The scientists published their work in Nature journal, where they listed two popular theories to explain the fairy circles
Scientists believe they have solved the puzzle once and for all.
The fairy circles are a series of patches in the desert of Namibia where grass refuses to grow.
Their round shape and prevalence have prompted many conspiracy theories over the years, from aliens and UFOs to radioactive soil.
But a research team from Princeton University may have the strongest clue yet, to figuring out the source.
The scientists published their work in Nature journal, where they listed two popular theories to explain the fairy circles.
Namibia’s mysterious fairy circles may have finally been explained by scientists
It’s a combination of these two theories that they believe causes the bizarre effect.
The behaviour of the plants is the first explanation, which involves the flora competing with their counterparts that are further away while at the same time assisting their neighbouring plants.
This competition arises from the scarcity of nutrients in the arid area like water, so a natural tug-of-war effect ensues between them.
The result is a series of plant rings with deep roots that drain water from a main reservoir.
Namibia’s fairy circles are a series of rings in the desert where grass won’t grow
Animals may also play a part in the strange formations.
The second theory suggests termites, ants or rodents act as subterranean ecosystem engineers.
A termite species called Psammotermes allocerus forms the circles from underneath the ground, by destroying the plants in their path, according to the research team.
But the combination of these two theories isn’t quite enough to completely explain the circles.
Namibia’s fairy circles have a connection to skin cells according to researchers
Princeton University researcher Corina Tarnita said: “Out of all these processes, where each is doing what they need to, emerges this large scale pattern.”
The computer models performed in the research suggest there is a complexity involving multiple sources that creates the mysterious circle effect.
In 2015 scientists found a weird connection between skin cells and the fairy circles.
The coincidence – which was previously unheard of in nature – suggests both skin cells and fairy circles have closely matched distribution patterns.