first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Africa’s baobab tree looks like something from a Dr. Seuss book. When young, the species (Adansonia digitata) is single-stemmed, branchless, and sports fruit that resembles giant sausages. Now, researchers report things get even weirder as the tree grows older. Over its lifetime, its roots send up several more stems in a ring, which eventually fuse to form a cavity “inside” big enough for bars, churches, or prisons for people, and refuges for animals seeking relief from the hot sun. The work also addresses the mystery of why so many of these strange trees are dying.To conduct the study, researchers combed books, articles, and the internet and asked local Africans in order to locate the biggest baobabs. The team leader is a nuclear chemist who loved giant trees and had developed a way to date ancient trunks without harming them. The scientists considered baobabs a good challenge because others had said wood was difficult to determine the age of. The team dated more than 60 of the trees, revealing that—unlike most other trees—the baobab grows new trunks, instead of branches, which eventually create their giant, hollow interiors.Some of these trees are more than 2000 years old, the team reports today in Nature Plants. But in 2011 the oldest known specimen—a shrine for rainmakers named Panke that sprouted about 2450 years ago—died and toppled over. And now seven more of the 13 oldest trees, and five of the six biggest trees, have also died, the researchers report. Adrian Patrut Africa’s strangest trees are stranger than thought—and they’re dying mysteriously They suspect climate change—and underground water that’s harder for the roots to reach—may have something to do with the trees’ demise, but also point out that over each one’s life span, it has undergone wetter, drier, colder, and warmer conditions that stress the tree and sometimes kill other plants. Whatever the cause, these mysterious deaths will have a big impact on the southern African landscape, as in addition to shade, the tree’s bark, roots, seeds, and fruit are key food sources for many animals. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email By Elizabeth PennisiJun. 11, 2018 , 11:00 AMlast_img

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