A new study about the origin of Baobab trees

Jun 06, 2024

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According to DNA studies, the iconic trees first arose in Madagascar 21 million years ago. Their seeds were later carried on ocean currents to Australia and also to mainland Africa, evolving into distinct species.

Importance of Baobab trees:

Baobabs are known as “the tree of life” because they support the surrounding ecosystem and the many forms of life that live in their hollow trunks, nest on and in their branches, and eat their nectar and fruits. The root systems are massive and help to slow down soil erosion and recycle nutrients.

The massive trunks are hollow cylinders of low-quality wood containing many water-filled living cells. Some of the largest and oldest baobab trees in Australia have been estimated to hold more than 100,000 litres of water. The water-filled cells of the trunk generate a hydrostatic pressure that gives the tree strength (the water acting a bit like air in a bouncy castle).

Baobab flowers are large and have evolved alongside large nocturnal, sugar eating animals like hawk moths, fruit bats and the lemurs of Madagascar.

In India, presently, it is found today in the Kutch and Kathiawar peninsula, Goa, Malwa and the south-central Deccan plateau in Andhra Pradesh.


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