Researchers at Princeton University believe they may have finally solved the mystery of Namibia’s perplexing ‘fairy circles.’
The plentiful patches of grass-ringed dry land which litter the deserts of Namibia have vexed scientists for centuries and spawned a variety of theories and legends surrounding their origin.
The two prevailing suggestions from scientists seem to be either subterranean termites were causing the phenomenon or it was due to the way the vegetation grew in order to absorb the most water from the desert floor.
In a novel approach to looking at the enigma, ecologists devised a computer model which could test these theories and see which may be behind the infamous circles.
Incredibly, neither process seemed to produce the circular effect, but a simulation of both scenarios happening at the same time did cause the mysterious rings to emerge.
As such, the scientists propose that they are caused by a more complex series of events where both termites and plant growth combine to conjure the circles.
Although they concede that their research does not entirely close the book on how all fairy circles are created, it would appear that they are on the right track.
Should they ultimately solve the mystery of the fairy circle it will be a bittersweet ending in some ways as we’ve always been partial to the awesome legend that the phenomenon is caused by a dragon lurking underground.
Source: The Guardian