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

Personal internet use could change as 'net neutrality' ends
Most have service terms that specify they won't give preferential treatment to certain websites and services, including their own. The change comes as broadband and cellphone providers expand their efforts to deliver video and other content to consumers.

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).

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.

Toyota makes record $1 billion investment in ride-hailing firm Grab
It also has Southeast Asia's biggest land transportation fleet, delivering over six million rides per day. The US$1 billion sum is the largest-ever investment globally by an automaker in the ride-hailing sector.

‘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.

How Did a Tick Temporarily Paralyze a Little Girl?
While combing her daughter Kailin's hair , she noticed a tick on her scalp, Griffin told Mississippi News Now . Fun and laughter aside, Jessica wants her readers to be aware that tick paralysis is both real and risky .

Initiative to split California into three states qualifies for ballot
The plan would create three differently sized regions, but all would have roughly the same population. You might have heard the buzz around CalExit - efforts to have California secede from the nation.

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.

Panama ex-President Martinelli hospitalized, 'stable'
Nauert said Martinelli's extradition followed normal procedures established by the countries' bilateral extradition treaty. Attorney's Office for the Southern District Florida, for their tireless efforts in support of this extradition".

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 .

© 2015 ExpressNewsline. All Rights reserved.