Sunday, March 24, 2019

4000 year old Termite ‘Biological Wonders’ Mounds Found in Brazil

200 million termite mounds have been discovered in Brazil that cover an area of 230,000 km2 in a seasonally dry tropical forest in Northeast Brazil.  And these mounds could be older than 4000 years!

4000 year old Termite 'Biological Wonders' Mounds Found in Brazil Click To Tweet

In this extraordinary feat of soil excavation, enough soil has been dug up by this species to contruct 4000 Giza pyramids!

“These mounds were formed by a single termite species that excavated a massive network of tunnels to allow them to access dead leaves to eat safely and directly from the forest floor,” researcher and entomologist Stephen Martin of the UK’s University of Salford said in a statement. (source)

These conical structures, which can be viewed on Google Earth are 2.5 m tall having a diameter of 9 m.  The article on the study of these structures has appeared in the recent Current Biology issue – 4000 year old Termite mounds (pdf).

The distribution of Syntermes dirus termite waste mounds across Northeast Brazil and associate tunnel networks. (courtesy – Current Biology)

These mounds are created when the insects – termites – slowly and gradually dig up interconnected tunnels which results in deposit of waste in conical structures.


These are indeed biological wonders.

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