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Scientists discover that the oldest desert on Earth is teeming with life: there is evidence of supernatural beings

Alina MilsentNews
Desert. Source: Created with the help of AI

There is an amazing place in southwestern Africa where scientists say supernatural beings may exist. The Namib is considered to be the oldest desert in the world: the sands have been there uninterruptedly for 80 million years, meaning that the desert has existed since the time of the dinosaurs.

The word "namib" means "a place where there is nothing". And at first glance, the area seems to live up to the name, covering about 1,600 kilometers along the west coast of Africa, between three countries, in the driest, sandiest conditions on the planet. However, the desert, as it turned out, is not so empty. The details were reported by Ifl Science.

A separate world

To be honest, the Namib does not quite live up to its name. Although the desert conditions are very harsh, Namib is home to thousands of species of animals and plants. Among the gigantic sand dunes, you can find highly adapted populations of desert elephants, dune larks that live without ever drinking water, beetles whose ability to collect water from the air has fascinated scientists for decades and the iconic Welwitschia mirabilis, the most wonderful and ugly plant.

Scientists discover that the oldest desert on Earth is teeming with life: there is evidence of supernatural beings

The exact age of the desert is still a matter of debate, but we do know that it is at least 55 million years old. Conservationist Brian John Huntley noted that this is when the large dunes known as the Tsondab Sandstone formed. But this is only a conditional period of formation of individual dunes, the desert itself is much older. To put it in context, the Namib is at least eight times older than the Sahara - it was already a desert when the Sahara was teeming with water monsters.

Undoubtedly, the local flora and fauna had enough time to adapt to the climate, which has an annual rainfall of only 2 millimeters.

"The extreme aridity of the Namib Desert places serious limitations on the survival of most vertebrates, especially amphibians. However, many reptiles and birds have successfully adapted to life in the desert," Huntley said.

Mammalian species include nomadic herds of springboks, gemsboks, plains zebras and Hartmann's zebras, as well as meerkats, aardwolves and brown hyenas.

Home of the supernatural

According to local folklore, Namib is home to more than just meerkats and hyenas. Locals tell of fairies and amazing oases.

Among the sand dunes and flat gravel plains, there are round sand spots ranging from 1.5 meters to 25 meters in diameter, completely surrounded by grass. They are called "fairy circles" - and although science has yet to definitively prove how they were formed, the Himba locals have long known the answer: they are the footprints left in the desert by the god Mukuru.

Scientists discover that the oldest desert on Earth is teeming with life: there is evidence of supernatural beings

Hein Schultz, owner of the Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge, located near the Namib-Naukluft National Park, noted that the strange circles are often thought to be traces left by UFOs in the desert.

One of the early hypotheses was that the grass in the center was poisoned by a local bush known as Euphorbia damarana or Damara milk bush. The theory was that the ground would become too toxic to support vegetation, but the surrounding ring of grass would persist, marking the boundary of where the shrub had impacted.

It was an interesting but flawed idea: in 2020, the research team continued the work of the botanist who first proposed it back in the 1970s. The results were obvious. Stefan Goetzin, a researcher at the Department of Ecosystem Modeling at the University of Göttingen, said: "Based on our detailed field observations, we have to reject the milkweed hypothesis."

Juan Bonacela, a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Strathclyde, suggested that the cause is the influence of termites.

"Termites remove the vegetation on their mounds to increase the humidity that is necessary for the insects to survive in a dry environment, thus creating a bare disk. The vegetation around the mound uses this water accumulation to grow, and the taller vegetation forms a circle. The regular repetition of the pattern is the result of different termite colonies competing next to each other," Bonacela explained.

However, ecologists have recently published a refutation of the termite theory. For now, it seems to be a mystery that defies scientific investigation.

The gates of hell

There is a so-called Skeleton Coast in the desert, but it is quite difficult to get there. The local Koisan Bushmen carefully guard the territory.

The documentary filmmaker Genna Martin said that the desert destroyed an incredible number of sailors, ships and even airplanes.

"This waterless desert, which reaches the dead end of the Atlantic Ocean, has caused the premature death of many unfortunate sailors, ships, airplanes and animals. Their corpses - rusted vessels, sun-bleached bones - are now visible reminders of the park's hostile conditions," she wrote.

Scientists discover that the oldest desert on Earth is teeming with life: there is evidence of supernatural beings

The region is so terrible that the 15th-century Portuguese explorer Diogo Cao called it the "Gate of Hell". Near the shore, you can find almost 1000 shipwrecks doomed to perish because of the thick fogs that roll in from the Atlantic and cover the coast.

Researchers have often heard the sounds of drums beating at night, wild dogs screaming, and other strange noises. This gave rise to many hypotheses about the presence of supernatural beings in Namibia.

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