"mega-city" of termites as old as the pyramids

They find a "mega-city" of termites as old as the pyramids and it is visible from space, it is formed by 200 million mounds of 4,000 years old connected together that cover an area the size of 'Great Britain', easily identifiable in 'Google Earth', the amount of excavated soil equals 4,000 Pyramids of Giza ...

An international team of researchers has discovered in the northeast of Brazil an extensive network of termite mounds that covers an area of ​​230,000 square kilometers, the size of Great Britain, and is visible from space. This gigantic, ordered and interconnected "city" is about 4,000 years old but is still inhabited, according to the authors in the journal Current Biology.

These subterranean tropical termites (Syntermes dirus) build tumuli that rise a few meters above the ground. The mounds, which are easily visible in Google Earth, are not nests, located one to three meters underground. Rather, they are the result of the slow and constant excavation of insects from a network of interconnected underground tunnels.

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The activities of termites over thousands of years have resulted in enormous amounts of land deposited in approximately 200 million cone-shaped mounds, each approximately 2.5 meters high and 9 meters wide.

"These mounds were formed by a single species of termite that excavated a massive network of tunnels to allow them access to dead leaves and eat it safely and directly from the forest floor," says Stephen Martin of the University of Salford in UK.

"The amount of excavated soil is more than 10 cubic kilometers, equivalent to 4,000 large pyramids of Giza, and represents one of the largest structures built by a single insect species." For Roy Funch, from the State University of Feira de Santana in Brazil, "perhaps the most exciting of all is that the mounds are extremely ancient, up to 4,000 years old, similar to the ages of the pyramids."

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