Africa’s Oldest Baobab Trees Are Dying Suddenly

Share
Africa’s Oldest Baobab Trees Are Dying Suddenly

Several of southern Africa's largest baobab trees have suddenly and unexpectedly died, and scientists fear climate change is the culprit. In recent years, a mysterious fungal disease has been hitting baobabs trees in certain parts of the continent.

All of the dead or dying baobabs detailed in the latest study are located in Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and Zambia, and all are between 1,000 and more than 2,500 years old. They can grow to be thousands of years old, and develop hollows inside so large that one massive baobab in South Africa had a bar inside it.

Researchers taking a survey of some of the world's oldest and funkiest trees have bad news to report: Africa's legendary baobobs are dying.

Adrian Patrut, a co-author of the study and an academic at the Babes-Bolyai University in Romania, said: "It is definitely shocking and dramatic to experience during our lifetime the demise of so many trees with millennial ages". While the cause of the die-off is not yet certain, climate change has already been pegged by the team and by other researchers as the likely cause.

The baobab can live for 3,000 years, according to South Africa's Kruger National Park.

Scientists believe that this phenomenon is not associated with any epidemic, and global climate change and in particular warming on the African contintent, but scientifically proven facts in favor of this version yet. Native to Sub-Saharan Africa, the unusual trees look like they were drawn by Dr. Seuss, with wide, fat, trunks capped by sparse branches covered in green leaves.

"Pretty much every baobab tree in Southern Africa is covered in the healed scars of past elephant attacks, which speaks to the trees' incredible fix ability", said David Baum, a University of Wisconsin botanist who is familiar with the new study and contributed to a recent Biodiversity International publication cataloguing the trees' attributes, in an email. "However, further research is necessary to support or refute this". It stores huge quantities of water and grows fruit edible for both humans and animals.

The baobab is the biggest and longest-living flowering tree‚ and has branches resembling roots reaching for the sky.

The baobab known as Adansonia digitata L.is an icon of the African savannah. Its leaves are boiled and eaten‚ while its bark is pounded and woven into rope‚ baskets‚ cloth and waterproof hats. "Such fix growth would lead to an inverted age sequence where wood initially gets older as you move towards the outside of the tree from the hollow".

It's possible that the deaths are part of a natural cycle, though it's hard to say because baobabs decay rapidly and don't leave behind any evidence of previous die-offs. But in 2011 the oldest known specimen-a shrine for rainmakers named Panke that sprouted about 2450 years ago-died and toppled over.

Share

Advertisement

Related Posts

South Korea alarmed after Trump says no more war games
Mr Trump's comments suggests he had accepted President Kim's position that the drills were a hostile provocation. A hawkish army commander, he has steered a series of inter-Korean military talks since the late 1980s.

FCC chair promises consumers will be protected after net neutrality repeal
One day after the net neutrality changes, a federal judge is set to rule on Tuesday on whether AT&T can buy Time Warner . With Net Neutrality coming to an end, there are fewer rules governing how internet service providers can operate.

Canada parliament slams US' Trudeau attack
Kudlow later suffered a "very mild" heart attack, the White House said Monday, but was in good condition. Senior officials of the Trump administration piled on the smears.

G-7 summit with Trump was a ‘sobering’ experience, Merkel says
Trump called Trudeau " meek and mild " and " dishonest and weak " in a tweet for his stance on tariffs. Trudeau, who announced that the G7 had issued a joint communique, had to suffer the wrath of Trump.

Italy, Malta must allow disembarkation of stranded migrants
The ship was carrying 629 migrants rescued within the Libyan search and rescue region, making Lampedusa its nearest safe port. The mayor of Naples, who has repeatedly clashed with the League leader, said he would welcome the humanitarian boat.

‘Dumbo’ First Trailer: Tim Burton Brings Disney’s Lovable Elephant to Dazzling Life
It's time to address the elephant in the room: This new trailer for Tim Burton's remake of Dumbo . The new trailer includes shots of the circus and even a fleeting glimpse of Dumbo in flight.

Selfie-taking couple in fatal cliff fall identified
Reports said two Australians may have been taking selfies when they fell about 30 metres in the town of Ericeira. While investigations continue, Corfina Media reported police have ruled out murder as a possible cause of death.

Donald Trump says North Korea no longer a nuclear threat: ‘sleep well!’
The spectacle was a major coup for an isolated and heavily sanctioned regime that has long craved global legitimacy. President Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island in Singapore .

Opportunity rover sends transmission amid Martian dust storm
On Mars, dust storms can crop up suddenly, NASA said in a statement , but it could take weeks or even months for them to subside. NASA's instrumentation shows that the rover's current temperature is around -29 degrees Celsius (-20 degrees Fahrenheit).

Awaiting sentencing, Fyre Festival promoter arrested again
Ticket-buyers reportedly then didn't either receive the tickets they paid for or didn't receive the tickets that were advertised. Back in March , Billy McFarland pled guilty to two counts of federal wire fraud in connection to the Fyre Festival scandal.

© 2015 ExpressNewsline. All Rights reserved.