A lone tree stands among the mysterious Fairy Circles of Namibia –

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Mushroom fairy circles are a good example of cellular automata or emergent behavior. The rules of mushrooms reproducing are simple:

As fungi, they reproduce by spreading their spores. Wind will only take their spores so far before they fall to the ground.

However, the spores that fall too close to their parent mushroom will be unable to grow as the parent fungus will sap all of the nutrients from the soil around it leaving nothing for the growth of the spore.

It’s easy to see how these limitations would cause the patterns that some people might be inclined to believe were man-made. Apparently upon reading wikipedia’s article on [fairy rings](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_ring) though, I realize that the above explanation might be one of several theories and over simplifying what’s going on.

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