Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1
Still Waters

Mysterious 'Fairy Circles' Not Termites

31 posts in this topic

"Fairy circles" that form in the arid grasslands of Namibia have baffled scientists for decades. In the latest attempt to explain the cause of these mysterious circular patches, a group of researchers turned to aerial images.

From the aerial images, the scientists discovered that fairy circles are distributed in surprisingly regular patterns, which might rule out the popular theory that termites are the creators.

http://www.livescien...ry-circles.html

Previous thread -

http://www.unexplain...howtopic=245460

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting... I wonder if they are caused by some bacteria or fungus...

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting... I wonder if they are caused by some bacteria or fungus...

That was my impression is that it had to be fungus or something considering that all the rings look to be the same size and elevation so I don't think termites are gonna synchronize their construction with others. :D

Were there, perhaps at one point, a bunch of cactus there of various sizes and were decimated by the same infections that are making the circles?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting... I wonder if they are caused by some bacteria or fungus...

There are lots of different causes to natural ring shapes. The "fairy ring" of the mushrooms is causes by the fungus consuming all available organic matter within the circle as it grows. Lack of water causes a lot of grasses to grow in the middle of a barren circle. And the creosote bush in the middle of a clone simply dies of old age.

Doug

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Obviously, it's the work of mole people.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And we believe that if life on Mars exist, we will find it? How long has science looked into the mystery of the fairy circles?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fairy rings that I have seen locally are caused by fungi and tend to have grass in their centers AND it's greener than the grass outside the ring. By breaking down organic compounds, the fungi is likely releasing nitrogen and/or other minerals for the grass to use that the grass outside the circle is lacking. These rings in Namibia are just the opposite with barren soil in the middle.

Hard to believe that after 65 years they are no closer to an answer.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some kind of parasite maybe??

Fairy rings that I have seen locally are caused by fungi and tend to have grass in their centers AND it's greener than the grass outside the ring. By breaking down organic compounds, the fungi is likely releasing nitrogen and/or other minerals for the grass to use that the grass outside the circle is lacking. These rings in Namibia are just the opposite with barren soil in the middle.

Hard to believe that after 65 years they are no closer to an answer.

That's because it's not a high priority.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some kind of parasite maybe??

That's because it's not a high priority.

Probably true, but you would think they have already tested for fungi, bacteria and common insects as well as done simple chemical analysis of the interior of the circles and the surrounding soil. Makes one wonder what it is they are missing.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

So, they debunked it by having an Opinion? Did any of these "experts" go out to the desert and verify that the termites aren't forming circles? It sounds to me like these guys just deduced that because they hadn't heard of this before that it could not be so.

Very bad debunk in my opinion.

Edited by DieChecker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably true, but you would think they have already tested for fungi, bacteria and common insects as well as done simple chemical analysis of the interior of the circles and the surrounding soil. Makes one wonder what it is they are missing.

The answer is probably right there in front of their faces, and they still can't see it.
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gas from below might poison the roots but probably not in such an pattern. Maybe someone has done it on purpose? Or they are nest sites for some sort of creature. Weird.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen fungus do some strange things. Back where I used to live several years ago, when I was a teenager, the entire region was covered in an orange, stringy fungus(or maybe it was a plant, I'm not 100% sure). The whole mountain I lived on turned orange, it was very bizarre.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a fungal reason was the leading theory before the termites theory came around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And we believe that if life on Mars exist, we will find it? How long has science looked into the mystery of the fairy circles?

The fungus cause of fairy rings was known in the early 1960s. I don't know how long before then that the question was under investigation.

Doug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Jambo/Hello ... not a scientist or anything like that !

Perhaps the ground has bubbles of some kind of radiation or gas that seems to spring up from deep within earth

, in a very slow process, in the land wherein the grass cannot grow. It looks like the Earth has dimples from the inner or some stroboscopic layer.

That would explain the bubbling effect on the surface.

It is not logical that grass cannot grow in uniformity therefore what ails the land is deep within.

Edited by Abdul karim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The argument is that termites wouldn't live in exact circles, yet here is a picture showing that these rings don't always come in exact circles...

fairy-circles-oryx-tracks_wide-ea46144b8d2847ce3f2f1ebbc7ef417afe273fac-s40-c85.jpg

Some are oval. Some are tear-drop shaped. Some are almost square.

Now German scientists think they have an explanation — a horde of insects seems to be bioengineering thousands of miles of desert.

....

Scientists have had some good guesses as to what causes them (none of which include fairies or people): poisonous plants, insects, seeping gas, even radiation. But no one could find evidence of any of these.

....

Juergens found that within every circle, the sandy earth beneath the surface was wet, even in the dry season.

....

There was something else odd about the circles — they were ringed by tufts of year-round grass.

....

He found spiders, beetles, ants and even aardvarks in the circles. And termites — and only termites showed up beneath every circle.

Juergens figured out what these termites were doing. After it rains, new grass grows. Normally, that grass sucks all the water out of the ground and then dies. But if the termites kill the grass first — by eating the roots — the water stays in the ground for years.

....

And what causes that outer ring of year-round plants? They stick their roots just inside the circle to get water, but not far enough to tempt the termites.

http://www.npr.org/2013/03/28/175369153/whats-behind-the-fairy-circles-that-dot-west-africa

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for showing the picture DieChecker .. interesting that there is an area devoid of 'circles' near that tree. Maybe some sort of increased activity near the tree, (like animals seeking shade as the sun moves the shadow around) hinders the formation of 'circles' ?¿

but it still could be fairies .

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was almost convinced by your link DieChecker :tu: but although it is interesting, it has no supporting evidence, even after all this time, so the termite theory only succeeds in being what it has always been... Nothing more than a not so well researched guess.

However the fairy circle mystery was in fact solved 12 months ago by 'complexity' scientists and computational modelling!

... thanks to the work of Cristian Fernandez-Oto at the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium and a few pals who have used computer simulations to show that fairy circles are emergent patterns that occur naturally when plants compete for water in arid conditions....

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/516406/fairy-circle-mystery-solved-by-computational-modelling/

Stephan Getzin and his team will have based their research on similar modelling given that the results are nearly identical.

The argument is that termites wouldn't live in exact circles, yet here is a picture showing that these rings don't always come in exact circles...

Some are oval. Some are tear-drop shaped. Some are almost square.

Actually that is not the argument at all. It is not about circle shape but about how evenly spaced the circle distribution patterns apparently occur. Have you ever watched cows or sheep grazing a paddock? They tend to maintain a naturally even distribution pattern as well, maximizing the energy resource for their own benefit.

Broken down further all research available on ant termite populations, according to Getzin, show...

...the occurrence of irregular, clustered distribution patterns at large scales.

http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=32841

His is a compelling theory utilising decades of observations, and computer models, to back up his hunch that the bare sandy area is a naturally occuring byproduct of a grasses ability to self-organise and compete for the water resource, in its thirst for survival.

A wilderbeast doesnt construct a watering hole before drinking from it, in the case of fairy circles neither does a termite or so it would seem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I was almost convinced by your link DieChecker :tu: but although it is interesting, it has no supporting evidence, even after all this time, so the termite theory only succeeds in being what it has always been... Nothing more than a not so well researched guess.

However the fairy circle mystery was in fact solved 12 months ago by 'complexity' scientists and computational modelling!

No evidence? Every single circle contained termites, which did not occur outside the circles to my knowledge. The investigator of the theory spent years on the ground, digging in these circles, collecting dozens of notebooks of data.

Stephan Getzin and his team will have based their research on similar modelling given that the results are nearly identical.

One group has taken existing aerial photographs and done analysis on it to check for regularity. They found that the circles were surprisingly regular.

Together with colleagues from Göttingen (Germany), Italy and Israel, Stephan Getzin has investigated which of these three hypotheses is most likely to be right.

...

This study is based on the review and evaluation of aerial images,

...

scientists have analysed for the first time.

However, in his view this rather discredits the generally popular termite theory.

...

No one has so far observed these creatures actually grazing holes into the Namibian grasslands

...

not one single piece of evidence demonstrating that social insects are capable of creating homogenously distributed structures, on such a large scale”.

...

studies covering the distribution of ant and termite populations in arid territories predominantly rather attests to the occurrence of irregular, clustered distribution patterns at large scales.

What remains as probable cause is local resource-competition among plants and vegetation – which incidentally seems quite capable of creating homogeneously scattered circles. Whereas, for example, in a young-growth forest plants will grow and develop at comparatively close range, vegetation will thin out and regress, over the years, in a self-organising process. Each mature tree, after all, needs sufficient space and nutrition for its development and will therefore be able to survive only at an appropriate distance to its neighbour. A similar process of resource-competition may consequently also be the real cause for a self-organising formation of the mysterious fairy circle patterns.

Using a computer model Stephan Getzin and his colleagues from Israel, who are specialised in this type of processing techniques, have simulated belowground competition for water and the resulting spatial vegetation distribution patterns – and very similar patterns indeed emerged on the screen, akin to the images recorded in Namibia. And in the course of all statistical review and analysis performed, the characteristics of simulated and real fairy circles turned out to be remarkably congruent and close to identical. For the UFZ researchers this represents compelling evidence, that the enigmatic patches may in fact be the result of spatially self-organising grass growth. “We consider this at present being the most convincing explanation“.

http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=32841

His is a compelling theory utilising decades of observations, and computer models, to back up his hunch that the bare sandy area is a naturally occuring byproduct of a grasses ability to self-organise and compete for the water resource, in its thirst for survival.

So basically Getzin's idea is based on no fieldwork, but only on analysis, where he uses species that are not necessarily endemic to this part of Africa to make broad assumptions. In general ants and termites don't act that way, so it is impossible for this to happen in Namibia. In general grass is a plant and so may act like a tree and self regulate to allow for enough water.

He says there is no/little precedent for termites acting this way, but is there actual precedent of grass acting this way? Not that I know of.

That is still the same grass that grows everywhere in Namibia, between the circles, it only is year round at the circles due to extra water at the circles, due to the action of the termites, which were found in every single circle, which eat the grass.

I think Mr Getzin's idea is worth following up on but is it FAR from a proven fact, or even a strong hypothesis. His idea would need to be followed up on to see if indeed the termites exist outside the circles, and if indeed they form a circle, and if indeed the grass actually is self regulating.

I personally don't believe the self regulating grass idea, because if it was true, you'd find a lot more open dirt, the circles would be a lot closer together, and there would be very little open land with just scrubby grass growing on it. If this was a successful survival technique for this grass, we'd expect to see almost all the grass acting this way.

Computer models are fine, but if they are just using broad assumptions, they can be totally off on specialist species living in border survivable ecosystems. For example, if they used hunter/gatherer ants to build their model, then the model would totally say that leaf cutter gardening ants are impossible, yet we know for a fact that leaf cutter ants exist.

More on the ground research needs to be done.

Edited by DieChecker
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Certainly looks like a natural phenomena to me, probably some sort of bacterial / natural chemical effect or indeed small insect pattern of existence. Just one of those bizarre little corners of the Earth where something unique happens that has us scratching our heads lol :unsure2:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I blame 'gay pride'.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I blame 'gay pride'.

Clearly this is due to Chemtrails.....

NOT

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No evidence? Every single circle contained termites, which did not occur outside the circles to my knowledge. The investigator of the theory spent years on the ground, digging in these circles, collecting dozens of notebooks of data.

To date there is no filmed evidence, even though we have night vision capabilities, that termites construct their own watering holes. Until then it is just as likely that termites are not responsible for them, and just as likely that plants are.

One group has taken existing aerial photographs and done analysis on it to check for regularity. They found that the circles were surprisingly regular.

The most comprehensive data collected so far is from satellite images and the fieldwork of independant researcher Walter R Tschinkel.

His research is freely available and concludes that they remain a mystery. Of the two most likely theories for the circles, plants or termites, he seems to like the plant theory most. Read all about the life cycle of the grass and much more here...

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0038056

So basically Getzin's idea is based on no fieldwork, but only on analysis, where he uses species that are not necessarily endemic to this part of Africa to make broad assumptions. In general ants and termites don't act that way, so it is impossible for this to happen in Namibia. In general grass is a plant and so may act like a tree and self regulate to allow for enough water.

He says there is no/little precedent for termites acting this way, but is there actual precedent of grass acting this way? Not that I know of.

That is still the same grass that grows everywhere in Namibia, between the circles, it only is year round at the circles due to extra water at the circles, due to the action of the termites, which were found in every single circle, which eat the grass.

I think Mr Getzin's idea is worth following up on but is it FAR from a proven fact, or even a strong hypothesis. His idea would need to be followed up on to see if indeed the termites exist outside the circles, and if indeed they form a circle, and if indeed the grass actually is self regulating.

I agree the theory needs more supporting evidence even though computer models support the idea. His idea isnt unique by the way i think it was first proposed in the 50s.

I personally don't believe the self regulating grass idea, because if it was true, you'd find a lot more open dirt, the circles would be a lot closer together, and there would be very little open land with just scrubby grass growing on it. If this was a successful survival technique for this grass, we'd expect to see almost all the grass acting this way.

It is believed to grow as such, in response to an unpredictably arid environment, i.e, desert/grassland transitional regions. It might lack precedents but at least doesnt lack logic, to me anyway.

Computer models are fine, but if they are just using broad assumptions, they can be totally off on specialist species living in border survivable ecosystems. For example, if they used hunter/gatherer ants to build their model, then the model would totally say that leaf cutter gardening ants are impossible, yet we know for a fact that leaf cutter ants exist.

More on the ground research needs to be done.

Personally in the absence of the termite footage, i like the plant idea best. Another natural and evenly spread distribution pattern I can think of in nature are the markings animals are born with for camouflage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To date there is no filmed evidence, even though we have night vision capabilities, that termites construct their own watering holes. Until then it is just as likely that termites are not responsible for them, and just as likely that plants are.

The most comprehensive data collected so far is from satellite images and the fieldwork of independant researcher Walter R Tschinkel.

His research is freely available and concludes that they remain a mystery. Of the two most likely theories for the circles, plants or termites, he seems to like the plant theory most. Read all about the life cycle of the grass and much more here...

http://www.plosone.o...al.pone.0038056

That is a good read. It would suggest that the cause has many factors. It is interesting that this article says that the Outside grass is not the same species as that around the edge of the circles.

It is believed to grow as such, in response to an unpredictably arid environment, i.e, desert/grassland transitional regions. It might lack precedents but at least doesnt lack logic, to me anyway.

I don't think the termite theory lacks logic either. What is illogical about it other then a lack of precedent of termites creating a circular affected area?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.