The Subterranean Architecture Of An Anthill Looks Like A Macabre City Of The Dead

By Brent McKnight | 8 years ago

Maybe you had an ant colony growing up, or maybe you had a friend or a cousin with one on a shelf in their bedroom. No matter how, most of you have laid eyes on one of these at one time or another, and these looks give you the impression that we have a pretty good idea of what the inside of random, wild anthills. To paraphrase the great Samuel L. Jackson, when you make assumptions such as these, you make an ass out of you, me, and umption, and that is certainly the case here. This video that has been making the rounds around the Internet, shows just how intricate and crazy these insect domiciles can be.

To explore and excavate an anthill, a team of researchers pumped the tunnels full of cement in order to preserve the architecture while they dug around. Don’t worry, this particular colony was already abandoned when the team did their thing, otherwise we’re talking a serious dick move here. They poured ten tons of cement, a task that took more than three days, and then they began the task of exhuming the dead city.

We all knew that ants were amazing little creatures, incredibly industrious workers capable of lifting many times their own body weight, and when blown up to thousands of times their original size by radiation, they make for truly horrifying sci-fi movie monsters. But take one look at this incredible underground city, and you’ll have a whole new respect for ants and what they’re truly capable of. You can just stare at this structure for hours and marvel at the tiny feat of engineering.

When all the dirt is stripped away, what remains looks like some kind of macabre, lost city of the dead. This could easily be a set or model from some sci-fi epic about a lost alien culture, or come from some fantasy realm from another world. Hundreds of passageways, all designed for optimal ventilation, sprawl through the dirt, covering a space of more than 50 square meters, and reaching a depth of more than 8 meters. The structure contains indicators of a highly evolved society, like gardens where they grew and tended to fungus, as well as pits designed to hold waste and rubbish. All in all, the ants moved more than 40 tons of soil in the course of creating their massive subterranean abode. That’s billions of trips, each the equivalent of a kilometer, while carrying loads more than four times their body weight.