The largest termite mound in the world seen from space

Recently, in northeastern Brazil, workers finished uprooting a large, dry patch of jungle, but it turned out to be unsuitable for pasture development. The area with the size of Great Britain is cluttered with low earthen mounds, which stand at an equal distance from each other, only about 200 million buildings. This is the handiwork of the greatest builder on the planet and man remains modestly to step aside in front of him - these are the buildings of termites!

Currently, the termite mound is empty, and it is believed that it, in fact, has never been inhabited. The youngest mounds are 700 years old, the oldest are almost 4, 000 years old. The design is uniform - it is a hill made of earth dug and thrown out, up to 10 m in diameter and up to 3 m in height. Each has a central tunnel and a developed system of passages, and all the hills are interconnected and built according to a certain plan, with knowledge of the matter.

Scientists have found many traces of storage of foliage that termites ate, but no places for egg-laying, no royal chambers. From what the conclusions were drawn - this is not a termite mound, not a dwelling, but a very extensive system of external protection. Termites are blind and for defense against enemies they build tunnels underground, leading them to places where food is collected, and the excess soil is taken out. It has already been calculated that these crumbs, the size of a human fingernail, have dug up so much soil that several thousand pyramids of Giza can be dumped. And the scale of their work can be seen today even from space.

One of the questions that torments scientists: why, after so many millennia of colossal efforts, did the termites leave this grand fortification? These insects may well fend for themselves, which, in combination with defensive fortresses, makes war with them problematic. But the fact remains - having built what is today officially called "the largest ecosystem created by one species of living beings", like many ancient civilizations, the termites left it and disappeared.