Myths and fairy-stories have explained the occurrence of circular patterns of vegetation that are found on the ground of the Namibian desert.
CE Tarnita et al give evidence for a scientific explanation in today’s Nature (volume 541, 398-401). They say the fairy circles are due to an intra-specific competition between territorial animals. They show the patterns of the circles’ occurrence are shaped by dynamic interactions between groups of animals that generate a self-organised distribution.
It seems that ecosystems can generate their own kind of order.