Researchers Revise The Theory Concerning The Mysterious “Fairy Circles” Made By Termites
Before recently, researchers were unable to explain how a vast amount of circular land formations came to exist in the Namib Desert of southern Africa. These formations have been referred to as “fairy circles”. One of these previous blog articles specifically addressed the well supported theory that these circular formations were formed as a result of termite activity. But now, many researchers are beginning to question the initial theories concerning the origin of fairy circles. Most experts still believe that termites played a part in the formation of fairy circles. However, the process that caused these land formations may be more complicated than the initial termite-related theory had suggested. The most recent theory states that the circles were formed as a result of interactions between termites and plants.
The mysterious existence of fairy circles has long fascinated people all over the world. For decades several different theories have been proposed. Some of these origin theories even involve aliens and mythological gods. It seems reasonable to believe the initial origin theory that suggested termite mounds, which are circular at the base where they make contact with the ground, caused these ring-shaped ground formations. Since termite mounds contain more nutrients and water than surrounding areas of desert, permanent circular shapes remain in the ground long after the mounds erode. This theory was further supported by the fact that termite mounds are usually evenly spaced from other mounds, much like the remaining circular shapes found in the Namib Desert. However, two scientists, Dr. Pringle and his colleague Dr. Corina Tarnita, created a mathematical model supporting a new theory that suggests fairy circles were created by both termites and plants.
The model showed simulated plants growing around the moist outer ring of termite mounds. The plants grew in areas of desert that were picked by termites as ideal mound locations. The simulated model resulted in plant vegetation growing around termite mounds that were spaced at even distances. These distances were similar to the distances between the modern fairy circles. Some critics of the theory claim that this proposed explanation needs be field tested. Also, fairy circles were recently discovered in regions of Australia where termite activity is rare. This suggests that termites may not be a part of fairy circle formation at all. Ultimately, the new theory has pushed the origin of fairy circles back into the realm of mystery.
Do you think that the fairy circles found in Australia could have been made by ancient termites that are now extinct in the area?