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Scientists solve the mystery of the "tree of life" that appeared on Earth 21 million years ago

Maria ShevchukNews
In the Malagasy language, baobabs are called "mother of the forest". Source: Adobe Stock

According to DNA research, baobabs first appeared in Madagascar 21 million years ago. Later, their seeds were transported by ocean currents to Australia and mainland Africa.

Baobabs may be closer to extinction than previously thought. The reason for their extinction is climate change and widespread deforestation, the BBC writes.

Baobabs are known as the "tree of life" or "upside-down tree" for their strange shapes and longevity. In the Malagasy language, they are also called "mother of the forest". These trees are among the most interesting on the planet and have a deep connection to local cultures and traditions.

Scientists solve the mystery of the ''tree of life'' that appeared on Earth 21 million years ago

Baobabs can live for thousands of years, growing to enormous sizes. To survive dry seasons, they store large amounts of water in their trunks. Their fruit is considered a superfood, and the trunk can be used to make fibers needed for ropes or clothing.

The "trees of life" form large white flowers that open at dusk, attracting bats as pollinators. Bats fly long distances to feed on the nectar of the baobabs. The trees are also important nesting sites for birds.

Scientists solve the mystery of the ''tree of life'' that appeared on Earth 21 million years ago

The study involved cooperation between the Wuhan Botanical Garden (China), the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew, UK), the University of Antananarivo (Madagascar) and Queen Mary University of London (UK).

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