PALMEIRAS, Brazil – Roy Funch, an American botanist, lived and worked during the decades of the Northwest of Brazil.
What did he create How many were there How long have they been there?
Following the emergence of the interest of the tumulus, Stephen Martin, along with the English insect insect scientist, brought significant discoveries: more than 200 million tonnes, 88,800 square kilometers (230,000 square kilometers), about the size of the United Kingdom.
In addition, some dirt is almost 4,000 years old.
"While Roman columns were built, buildings built termites for their tumulus," Funche said, as pile drums are the largest bioconstruction of a species other than human beings.
The tumulus are seen in places where the Kaatinga area is open to the desert, with a height of 6 to 13 meters (2 and 4 meters in height) and approximately separated between 52 and 72 meters (16 and 22 meters).
For those who have clean toothbrush crops, mounds are annoying. Drilling is difficult when it is hot in the hot sun for years, it is already hard and the clay becomes stony. Earth's inhabitants use tumulus parts to build adobe homes.
Funch wrote two articles about the tumultuous Brazilian publications, but they did not attract attention. Without experience in the world of scientific insects or scientific publications, he was not sure what happened for the next investigation.
He was not asked by local people.
"Some say they are termites, some would say ants, some would say:" Well, they've always been there. They are part of nature, "said Funche.
Write Martin, an entomologist at Salford University in England. A few years ago, honey bees and ants in the northeast of Brazil Martin studied in the Bahia state. He was also curious about the mounds.
"I was intrigued by its patterns," he said.
By coincidence, Martin and Funche joined the Lencois River, a small town near Bahia, 30 kilometers (50 kilometers) from the edge of the surrounding mounds.
While Martin was watching the mounds while driving, Funche said: "You've only met one of the only Brazilian soldiers working on mounds."
It consists of two partners, and its research was published on Nov. 19 Current Biology.
The couple created the mounds that generated Syntermes dirus, a large number of termites that feed on leaves and underground lands. While the termites are found in the region, researchers are not actively working in large tumors in areas with tumors.
With several tumulus, they found only one small hole in a small tube, not only a large tunnel model. That said, the termites found a place from the crust where tunnels were built.
"These are just waste," Martin said. "We will not see them in normal situations because they do not last for a long time".
In damp areas of the same species of the same species, such as Amazon, the mounds fall due to rain and wind. But Caatinga ecosystems only rise for a week. Desert vegetation wrecked mounds and camouflaged in large areas of the area, one of the reasons that are clearly hidden.
Funch has improved the image improvements in Google Earth over the last few years to understand the extent of training through space maps.
"Mounds continue forever in all directions," said Funche, who initially returned to Brazil as a volunteer for peace in 1977, and remained.
Mounds are also very old. A radioactive test was determined by age 690 and 3,820.
"It could be a giant termite (built up by the tombs)," violently Luciano Olivera, living in a local house, extracted from a coin on the ground. "Nobody knows."
Many people see termites as pests because some species tend to burn wood, and thus, houses, social insects are also the best engineers worldwide, which include vast underground tunnel networks and large dirt.
Together with Funch, they went to see thermometer night work when a press journalist associated with long-term soldiers and long-term soldiers in custody, smaller laborers gathered dead leaves and cut smaller pieces, click "click, click," sounds while they worked. When some thermometers flashed, they cut down the holes.
Rob Pringle has studied the terms and their mounds by Princeton Biology Professor in Kenya, Mozambique and Namibia, which may lead to the collapse of the termite colonies in tumultuous models.
In fact, in Brazil, the termites did not fight if the colonies moved away from a few kilometers, not knowing how to create termites.
"We are still a different expression of the different spatial models of these incredible and giant nature," said Pringle.
Funch and Martin say that they still need to investigate.
Among the main questions: Why do not tumbles appear beneath the active colonies? What causes the uniform interval? And how long did termites make the largest mounds?
"These are the locals who knew the Mayan temple," Funche said. "But it's just a critical eye for science to start."
Associated press spokesman Victor Caivano reported that this story was reported by Palmeiras and AP writer Peter Prengaman in Rio de Janeiro.
Victor Caivano Twitter: twitter.com/vcaivano
Peter Prengaman on Twitter: twitter.com/peterprengaman