Earlier work on the global distribution of bamboos has shown that bamboos evolved in the southern hemisphere on a landmass called Gondwanaland, parts of which spread apart to form South America, Africa and Asia when it broke up as a result of continental drift, the slow movement of tectonic plates on the earth's surface.
The incredible variety of temperate bamboos in China is thought to be a result of the early bamboos spreading out from either Africa or India when the plates collided and allowed the hitch-hiking bamboos to jump across into new territory.
The features and DNA of the African bamboos are certainly different to those of East Asia, but it is still not clear whether they are really different enough to represent ancestors of all the Asian bamboos.
It will be necessary to hunt out and study mountain bamboos of Sri Lanka and Madagascar and to include them in a broader analysis to be sure. From this review, however, it looks as though African bamboos evolved about the same time as the bamboos of E Asia.
The temperate bamboos of China are more likely to have been a gift from India, rather than another 'Out of Africa' story, but further work is needed to be sure.
The new study has been published in the open access journal PhytoKeys.
--ANI (Posted on 24-08-2013)