South African botanists say they have failed to explain the mysterious round patches of bare sandy soil found in grassland on Namibia’s coastal fringe.

They looked into possible causes of the “fairy circles” – radioactive soil, toxic proteins left by poisonous plants,…

and termites eating the seeds.

But tests do not support any of these theories for the rings which are 2-10m across, New Scientist magazine reports.

For now, the botanists are left with “fairies” to explain the phenomenon. Lead scientist Gretel van Rooyen is now exploring the theory that…

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