A hundred years ago, the mystery of the fairies circles runs more hot than ever. This week, another theory was published, once again claiming to have cracked the code on how these circles were made of bare red-sided ground, very similar to the eyes.
They vary in size from 3.5 meters to 35 meters across.
Distributing Namibia's hard plants into their millions, sometimes arranged in beautiful bees – and other times such as falls, the Himba believed they were the remains of their god's feet.
The dragon work was a theory celebration: every time the dragon is breathing and exhales, the fire rises to break the surface of the earth and another ring will be born.
There may be no cakes at all
In the 1920's, scientists began to find out and push around – theories that spawned that the ponds were caused by underground bags, radiation, gases and underground toxic plants fighting themselves for water resources .
In March 2013, Professor Norbert Juergens, an ecologist from the Hamburg University of Germany, published a paper based on 40 field trips in the Namib desert. In every fairy circle he examined, Dr Juergens found a species of sand termite – Psammotermes allocerus.
It came to the conclusion that the termites ate the grass to make the rings, which they use as water traps. The water was used to grow more grass that the termites eat. In other words, farmers were termites.
But they also used the edges of the edges like cars – which explained why they were more or less arranged equally between each other.
Rival scientists have been discharged by termite theory
It was an exciting idea and for six months, Professor Juergens was a bona fide star holiday star. In interviews, it was boasting that the termites were smarter than fighters.
In August 2013, South African scientists and the USA examined Professor Juergens's parade by publishing a paper that found that fairies circles were occurring in places where there was not enough rainfall. Aerial photos were introduced which suggested that the circles grow after dry years, and shrink after some wet – and that plants make the rings.
Then, in 2014, researchers found fairy circles in Australia and Northern Territory – although local native people say they were used as places to sit and grow grass, because of their flat hard surface.
This was a big deal – leading to detailed attention in big hit publications around the world.
Give a new fairy circle star
Dr Stephan Getzin, is an ecological model of the University of Gottingen in Germany, and before that is a fan of thermite theory. Sadly researched Australian circles – keeping them secret until a paper was published that argued that the hexagonal pattern, the same as that found in Namibia, was too exact to be a termite work.
From an analysis of temperature and soil samples, Dr Getzin supported the theory that deeper roots plants smiling around themselves – known as the "self-management" theory.
Adjoining plants were split into survival while there were no far-reaching plants. The circles were what was left behind: hard, dry and unable to take any seed, they serve as rain showers.
The argument has gone back and forth. Australian scientists – in association with native keepers – in 2016 came out to support termites. Other researchers have found more evidence for moisturizing plants.
And now, this week, Dr Getzin is back with a new theory and – in collaboration with researchers from Israel and Australia – he hopes to kill the termite idea for good.
Dr Getzin and a team dropped a total of 154 holes in 48 fairyards to the east of Newman, West Australia, over a 12-kilometer period "in order to assess the possible influence of termites objectively and systematically."
With the help of drones, they map areas of 500 meters per 500 meters to compare typical vegetation gaps – such as those caused by granite greenhouses in large parts of Australia – with typical fairy circle gaps.
In addition, they investigated soil conditions in the area of fairyards and in adjacent reference areas, where grass does not grow over large areas.
Getzin thinks he's got it
"Just about half the size of the fairies circles and much less order is the gaps of the vegetation caused by thermites," said Dr Getzin, in a willing statement from the Gottingen University.
"And in most cases, we did not even find any termitar (termite accommodation) elsewhere in Australia to prevent grass growth."
So what is the conclusion? Dr Getzin counts the compression content and high soil clay in the fairies circles that have been investigated and non-vegetation reference areas indicate that the fairy circles are formed by processes such as the mechanical temperature of the soil through heavy rain in cyclists, extreme heat and evaporation.
Boring! But at least the chat & chat goes.