Climate Change Likely Killing Africa's Oldest Baobabs

Two yellow baobab pods hanging from a leafy branch

"Something obviously is going on in nearly selectively affecting the largest and oldest", Thomas Lovejoy, an environmental scientist and Amazon rain forest expert at George Mason University, wrote in an email comment on the study.

Because of limited knowledge about these trees, scientists embarked on a mission in 2005 to study their structure, growth, and age.

According to the Kruger National Park in South Africa, the baobabs can live to be 3,000 years old and can grow to be so large that up to 40 people can shelter inside its hollow trunk.

The giant trees have always been revered as a way to survive drought. The team leader is a nuclear chemist who loved giant trees and had developed a way to date ancient trunks without harming them.

"Over time, single-stemmed individuals become multi-stemmed, owing to the baobabs' ability to periodically produce new stems, in much the same way other tree species produce branches".

Southern Africa - including countries like Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, where the trees catalogued by Patrut were found - is already warming faster than the global average.

The trees, aged between 1,100 and 2,500 years and some as wide as a bus is long, may have fallen victim to climate change, the team speculated.

G7 row: Emmanuel Macron attacks Donald Trump's 'fits of anger'
Within Merkel's CDU party too, some are openly championing Seehofer's vision, including Saxony state premier Michael Kretschmer. It was a picture that, by several accounts , summed up the tense G7 summit over the weekend in Quebec, Canada.

Tim Burton's dark, live-action take on Disney's 'Dumbo' gets teaser trailer
At the end of the trailer , Parker's character turns out to be the key to the pachyderm's flight, telling him, "Here, Dumbo ". Tim Burton is swapping big eyes for big ears, bringing his unique visual sensibilities to a new version of 1941's Dumbo .

Saudi-led forces begin assault on Yemen port city of Hodeida
Saudi Arabia's Western allies, which sell arms to coalition states, have not said publicly if they approve of the assault. The port is the main entry point for food and humanitarian aid supplies that millions rely on in Houthi-controlled areas.

According to a report in the journal Nature Plants, no one has been able to figure out the reason behind the falling of these very big trees, but scientists suspect climate change to be the culprit.

Some of the oldest and largest baobabs in South Africa‚ Zimbabwe‚ Namibia‚ Botswana‚ and Zambia have abruptly died in the past decade‚ say a team of worldwide researchers.

"It is definitely shocking and dramatic to experience during our lifetime the demise of so many trees with millennial ages", the study's co-author, Adrian Patrut, told The Guardian. In 2010, its branches started to fall off; then its multiple stems began to split and topple over.

Despite their hardy character, baobabs need water just like any other plant, and southern Africa has become hotter and dryer in recent years.

The oldest tree by far, of which all the stems collapsed in 2010/11, was the Panke tree in Zimbabwe, estimated to have existed for 2,500 years. "Climate change certainly seems like a possible (or likely) contributor". The increased temperature and drought are the major threats, says Patrut. "It's a unusual feeling, because these are trees which may live for 2,000 years or more, and we see that they're dying one after another during our lifetime". The common theory, Baum said, is that as the tree slowly grows around these scars, they can become large hollows.

The baobab tree, sometimes called the "Tree of Life", has an unforgettable appearance.

A tree regarded as the icon of the African savannah is dying in mysterious circumstances.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top NCAA announces transfer, football redshirt rule changes
Jun 13, 2018 - 22:10
The autonomy conferences will consider, by an electronic vote, two different proposals to allow schools to cancel the aid. That idea has fallen off the table amid concerns about creating an inequitable system that could face legal challenges.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Friday declared holiday to mark Eidul-Fitr
Jun 13, 2018 - 21:59
During Ramadan, which ends at sunset on the final Thursday, Muslims do not eat, drink, have sex or smoke while the sun is up. Eid is also a period of finery, when Muslims dress in their best clothes and give gifts to their friends and family.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top FCC Officially Repeals Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules
Jun 13, 2018 - 21:46
He spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about what internet providers wanted to do that they couldn't under the old rules. Brendan Carr, a Republican member of the FCC, said on Twitter: "Americans are passionate about the free and open internet".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Man gets over 16 years in prison for kidnapping U.K. model
Jun 13, 2018 - 21:11
The court handed Lukasz Herba a prison sentence of 16 years and nine months - a month longer than prosecutors had requested. He said it was unrealistic that Herba would have done so only to get ransom money through a young woman without any means.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Italy's Matteo Salvini shuts port to 629 rescued migrants
Jun 13, 2018 - 21:03
The ship was carrying 629 migrants rescued within the Libyan search and rescue region, making Lampedusa its nearest safe port. A US Navy ship rescued 40 migrants off the coast of Libya Tuesday, according to US military officials.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Opportunity fights for life amidst a giant Martian dust storm
Jun 13, 2018 - 21:00
Likewise, performing certain actions draws on battery power, but can actually expel energy and raise the rover's temperature. More importantly, the swirling dust has raised the atmospheric opacity, or "tau", in the valley in the past few days.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Proposal to split California into three states earns spot on ballot
Jun 13, 2018 - 20:39
Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Tulare counties. With its 55 electors in the Electoral College, California has always been a stronghold for the Democratic Party.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top US Infants Eating More Added Sugar Than Adult Limits Before 2nd Birthday
Jun 13, 2018 - 20:31
Factoring in added sugar taken with coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages, the number gets bumped up to 47 percent. The study is expected to be presented at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting during Nutrition 2018.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Man behind Fyre Festival disaster busted for scamming attendees - again
Jun 13, 2018 - 20:27
Investors in the 2017 Fyre Festival lost over $26 million in what was billed as "the cultural experience of the decade". He says the 26-year-old McFarland went on to sell fraudulent tickets totaling nearly $100,000 to various events.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Bercow jokes that baby in the Commons is better behaved than MPs
Jun 13, 2018 - 20:24
Proceedings on the EU Withdrawal Bill last night were a democratic outrage and the Scottish Parliament must be respected. He then demanded a vote on the issue, something which Bercow refused to consent to until PMQs had concluded.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Luka Doncic staying in 2018 National Basketball Association draft
Jun 13, 2018 - 20:07
Not only is it making the team significantly better next year, it opens the door for other opportunities after the season ends. Doncic is one of the highest touted prospects heading into the draft .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump Wants to Pull U.S. Troops out of S.Korea
Jun 13, 2018 - 19:40
Trump said the U.S. will cut back on its military exercises with South Korea but will not withdraw any American forces. Mr Trump's comments suggests he had accepted President Kim's position that the drills were a hostile provocation.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Selfie-taking tourists fall from cliff to their deaths in Portugal town
Jun 13, 2018 - 19:11
Police say they believe the couple lost their balance and fell off the wall at some time between 1am and 6am on Tuesday. Praia dos Pescadores, or Fishermans Beach, is surrounded by cliffs and a 40-metre high wall.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Robert De Niro Drops F-Bomb In Trump Rant On Live TV
Jun 13, 2018 - 18:51
These comments are the latest in a slew of public appearances in which the actor made comments lambasting the president. His task was to introduce musician Bruce Springsteen during the Tony Awards.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Chinese official backs removal of US troops from Korean Peninsula
Jun 13, 2018 - 18:29
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has Koreans in Spokane closely watching the outcome. America maintains about 28,000 troops in South Korea at any given time.