Scientists Solve Mystery of Ancient 'Tree of Life'
Scientists Solve Mystery of Ancient 'Tree of Life'

Scientists Solve Mystery of Ancient 'Tree of Life'

London, 16 May (ONA)--- Scientists have unlocked the ancient mystery surrounding the origins of baobab trees, the iconic giants native to Madagascar.

The migration of these trees from Madagascar to mainland Africa and Australia has long puzzled scientists.

Through DNA studies, researchers have traced the baobab lineage back to Madagascar around 21 million years ago.

Known for their distinctive swollen trunks and ability to thrive in arid climates, baobabs have played crucial roles in their ecosystems for millennia, providing sustenance and shelter to various species.

However, a recent study employing genomic, ecological, and geological analyses has shed light on this enigma.

According to the findings, baobab seeds likely dispersed from Madagascar to Africa and Australia via vegetation rafts, facilitated by the Indian Ocean gyre. Two baobab lineages that went extinct in Madagascar managed to establish themselves in Africa and Australia.

Study co-author Andrew Leitch of Queen Mary University of London said, "The trees have astonishing and distinctive growth forms, some species with massive trunks that are hollow cylinders of low-quality wood ramified with many water-filled living cells. Some of the largest and oldest trees in Australia have been estimated to hold more than 100,000 litres (26,400 gallons) of water."

Aside from their ecological significance, baobabs hold cultural importance in many African societies, with legends describing their mystical powers and connections to human emotions.

This groundbreaking research not only enriches our understanding of baobab ecology and evolution but also highlights the intricate mechanisms driving plant dispersal across continents.