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“Tree Of Life”: Scientists Finally Solve The Ancient Mystery Behind Baobab Trees

Scientists have discovered the mystery behind the origin of the ancient baobab trees. The species are known for their unique shapes and longevity.

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Baobab Trees Photo: Pinterest
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Scientists have finally cracked the mystery surrounding the ancient baobab trees. The iconic baobabs, known for their peculiar shapes and remarkable longevity, have been traced back to Madagascar around 21 million years ago. Over time, their seeds dispersed via ocean currents, giving rise to distinct species in Australia and mainland Africa.

The findings, by Dr. Ilia Leitch from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and her husband, Prof. Andrew Leitch from Queen Mary University of London, underline the urgent need for conservation efforts. Despite their revered status as "the tree of life" or "upside-down tree," baobabs face existential threats from climate change and rampant deforestation.

The study, which examined eight baobab species across different regions, underscores the critical importance of safeguarding these keystone species. Of particular concern are two endangered Malagasy species, including the majestic giant baobab, revered as the "mother of the forest" in the Malagasy language.

African Baobab
African Baobab Photo: Pinterest
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Baobabs, characterized by their immense size and ability to store water in their trunks, play a vital role in supporting diverse ecosystems. Their fruits are regarded as super food, while their trunks yield fibers that can be used for making ropes or clothing. Moreover, baobabs serve as crucial nesting sites for birds and attract pollinators like bats with their large white flowers that bloom at dusk.

The collaborative research, involving institutions such as Wuhan Botanical Garden (China), University of Antananarivo (Madagascar), and Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew, UK), offers invaluable insights that inform conservation strategies aimed at preserving these ancient marvels for generations to come.

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