In a remote area in the Northeast region of Brazil, lies one of the strangest discoveries of land that researchers have come across. After being curious about what seemed to be a never-ending stretch of dirt mounds, Roy Funch, along with social insect expert Stephen Martin, discovered that the dirt piles were over 4,000 years old, and home to one of the world’s biggest termite colonies.
While the Romans were busy building their columns, these termites were busy building an empire. And over the course of 4 millenniums have managed to expand their underground tunnels to stretch over 230,000 square kilometers, or about 143,000 miles. Just to put things in perspective, that’s about the same size as Great Britain.
Within this giant stretch of land, there is an estimated array of 200 million termite mounds, all varying in size, height, and spreading out between 52 and 72 feet apart. Oddly, all of the mounds are spread out quite neatly, almost being exact equal distances from each other, and the best part is that due to the many years baking in the hot Brazilian sun, their homes have become so rock hard that it would be almost impossible to bulldoze them. In fact, some people from the local towns have been using the clay-like substance to build extremely solid and weather resistant homes.
As the colony grows, there’s really no way to tell how big it could possibly grow, making it’s exponential growth a very interesting thing for scientists to keep an eye on.[H/T Cell.com]