'Fairy circles' of Africa baffle scientists

Ivan Seeking

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Twenty-five years of research fail to find the cause of a mysterious natural phenomenon, reports Tim Butcher at Wolwedans Camp

One of Africa's most mysterious natural phenomena still cannot be explained despite 25 years of research, scientists admitted yesterday.

Rings known as "fairy circles" that pockmark vast areas of desert in Namibia and South Africa have baffled botanists from the University of Pretoria and the Polytechnic of Namibia.

They have ruled out termite activity, poisoning from toxic indigenous plants, contamination from radioactive minerals and even ostrich dust baths as possible causes.

"At this stage I suppose we could say that fairies are as good an explanation as any," Gretel van Rooyen, professor of botany at Pretoria, told The Telegraph. [continued]


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These are real enough. Anothert really intresting thing about them is though the soil in the circle is barren there is a ring of soil just putside the circle which is seemingly more fertile than the surrounding soil.

here's a slightly better article on it:


It is obviously the work of fairies.


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Hmm, I was trying to find some pics of these things, because they sound quite similar to the devils tramping ground I've got up the street.

Here is one pic I managed to find of a fairy circle

And a pic of the tramping ground to save you the trouble

The main difference, from what I read about the fairy circles, there are many of them in africa, whereas this is the only one I know of around here.
They just need some fertilizer, is all.

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