During the last 12 years, the researchers witnessed the death or partial death, the loss of the oldest stem or stems, of 8 of the 13 oldest and five of the six largest specimens.
The trees - located in Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and Zambia - have died completely, or partly, according to the study. At 30.2 metres the tree, named Holboom, also had one of the tallest heights and is dated to be about 1,700 years old.
"The deaths of the majority of the oldest and largest African baobabs over the past 12 years is an event of an unprecedented magnitude", the scientists wrote. And it's no fluke, he adds. "The die-off has other immediate causes, like insects, but a 500-year-old tree has experienced a lot of insect outbreaks and lived through them". The stories note baobobs' iconic place in African history. "Statistically, it is practically impossible that such a high number of large old baobabs die in such a short time frame due to natural causes". It first began to split apart in the spring of 2016.
Pretty much every baobab tree in Southern Africa is covered in the healed scars of past elephant attacks, which speaks to the trees unbelievable fix ability, said David Baum, a University of Wisconsin botanist who is familiar with the new study and contributed to a recent Biodiversity International publication cataloguing the trees attributes, in an email. Tropical trees in the Costa Rican cloud forest also seem to be dying from rising temperatures. Nadia Drake at National Geographic reports that Patrut began studying baobabs in 2000, mainly focusing on Adansonia digitata, a very large species of baobab found primarily in southern Africa.
Study leader Adrian Patrut‚ from Babes-Bolyai University in Romania‚ said: "It is definitely shocking and dramatic to experience during our lifetime the demise of so many trees with millennial ages".
It is also said that the intertwined baobab trees in Madagascar symbolise a couple from different villages who fell in love against the wishes of their elders.
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Using radiocarbon-dating, in which researchers date carbon atoms inside the tree stem, they found that baobabs' unique architecture is responsible for their longevity.
"(They do refer to other baobab mortality but don't have real data on it)", Lovejoy continued. This included the Platland baobab and a few trees that appeared, by Patrut's calculations, to be more than 2,000 years old.
Is Climate Change To Blame? The common theory, Baum said, is that as the tree slowly grows around these scars, they can become large hollows.
A tree regarded as the icon of the African savannah is dying in mysterious circumstances.