Mysterious African ‘Fairy Circles’ Stump Scientists
Via: Live Science
In the sandy desert grasslands of Namibia in southern Africa, mysterious bare spots known as “fairy circles” will form and then disappear years later for no reason anyone can determine. A new look at these strange patterns doesn’t solve the wistful mystery but at least reveals that the largest of the circles can linger for a lifetime.
Small fairy circles stick around an average of 24 years, while larger ones can exist as long as 75 years, according to research detailed today (June 27) in the journal PLoS ONE. Still, the study sheds little light on why the circles form, persist and then vanish into the landscape after decades.
“The why question is very difficult,” said study researcher Walter Tschinkel, a biologist at Florida State University. “There are a number of hypotheses on the table, and the evidence for none of them is convincing.”