World’s Oldest Termite Mounds Discovered in Namaqualand

The world’s oldest termite mounds, known as heuweltjies, were discovered in Namaqualand, South Africa. These mounds, inhabited by the southern harvester termite (Microhodotermes Viator), date back between 13,000 and 34,000 years and cover about 20% of the land. Recent studies in 2021 focused on the chemical changes in the area’s salty groundwater, revealing significant nutrient accumulation over time. These mounds play a crucial role in carbon cycling by sequestering carbon and storing organic matter, thus aiding in climate change mitigation. They also enhance local biodiversity and soil quality, demonstrating termites’ ability as ecosystem engineers.

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