By Tim Binnall
A breathtaking collection of ancient and enormous termite mounds have been discovered by stunned researchers in Brazil. The remarkable find was reportedly first made after a forest had been cleared and the curious cone-shaped piles of dirt were revealed for the first time. A subsequent investigation by scientists concluded that they are termite mounds which are part of a cluster that is truly staggering in both size and age.
According to researchers, the mound complex covers an area of land that is roughly equal to the size of Great Britain. Adding to that already-jaw-dropping insight is that the network consists of a whopping 200 million mounds and that the cluster can actually be seen from space! Incredibly, some of the structures are at least 4,000 years old, placing the construction of the mounds to, ironically, around the same time that the pyramids were built.
Measuring around eight feet tall and 30 feet in diameter, scientists say that the mounds are the product of termites depositing dirt while crafting a vast tunnel system beneath the Earth. One researcher who studied the amazing cluster marveled that it is "greatest known example of ecosystem engineering by a single insect species."
Beyond just bugs, though, the feat may rival human achievements as well when one considers the size of the complex. "Imagine it being a city," he mused to the Washington Post, "we've never built a city that big." And, assuming that the termites are still down there digging, it stands to reason that the collection of mounds will only get bigger as time passes.