Australia: Indigenous people solve the scholarly debate


Has the mystery of the mysterious fairy circles finally been solved?

Regular circular patterns adorn the Australian desert. For a long time, science had no idea what it was all about. Now, Aboriginal knowledge has solved the mystery.


Regular circular patterns adorn the Australian desert. (Icon picture)

imago / robertharding

  • So-called fairy circles, circles 2 to 12 meters wide of barren ground, have fascinated scientists for years.

  • Now ethnologist Fiona Walsh appears to have solved the mystery.

  • She was able to do this thanks to the help of the natives.

For a long time they astounded the world. No one knows exactly what the imaginary circles are called, circles 2 to 12 meters wide of barren land. Are the circles normal? Or are they the work of the indigenous people Or even aliens?

Imaginary circles decorate the Australian desert, among other things, and were first used in the 1970’s Registered in Africa. Science was amazed and it took so far to find out what this phenomenon was all about, the Mirror reported. Only the help of the indigenous peoples, the indigenous people, helped scientists clarify the mystery once and for all.

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The spots are the work of termites

Ethnologist Fiona Walsh believed the fairy circles to be the result of surrounding vegetation competing for water, which is rare in the desert. But as I found out with the help of the natives, the bare earth circles are the result of termites building their nests underneath. “The Aboriginal people told us that these regular circular patterns of bare ground were inhabited by termites,” Walsh explains.

In the past, the circles were used by the indigenous people to search for food sources. “We gathered and ate flying termites,” said Gladys Beddo, an elder of the Martoo people in Western Australia. “I learned it from the elders and saw it myself many times,” Bedou continues.

Knowledge of indigenous people is critical to ecosystem improvement

In addition to the stories of Gladys Beddoe, Fiona Walsh also used Aboriginal art in her scholarly investigations. “We saw similarities between patterns in Aboriginal art and aerial images of docks, and we found paintings that told deep and complex stories about the activities of termites and their ancestors,” explained the ethnoecologist.

Then termites were found under the trenches in 100 percent of the cases examined – thus the knowledge passed down through the centuries by the Aboriginal people was true. In addition, the indigenous peoples also helped another scientific discovery: according to an interpreter from the Martu people, the endangered species of desert skinks use the circles as a breeding ground. After heavy rains, their young are born in the resulting pools of water.

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Fiona Walsh used these findings to show how indigenous knowledge can help scientific studies. She said their knowledge is critical to nurturing the deserts and the land, thus improving the ecosystem.

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