Termites Were Farming Long Before Humans

Science proves that termites were farmer millions of years before humans grasped the concept. There are a number of cliffs in the southwestern region of Tanzania that are home to “fungus gardens” which were created by termites about 25 million years ago, according to The Washington Post.

Upon further study, scientists have concluded that the gardens reveal that ancient termites cultivated the fungus by arranging them in a formation and feeding the fungus small amounts of plant matter. Researchers say that is system is the oldest evident of agriculture in the world.

Some species of termites cultivate the fungi in chambers located under the ground. The plant material that the insects feed the fungi is pre-chewed material that the termites are not able to digest. The termites then wait for mushrooms to grow from the spores of fungus and use the spores for food. The insects also eat the plant matter that the fungus converts to get additional nutrients.

The Rukwa Rift Basin is one of the first places in the world that termite farms were created. The farm nests consisted of small chambers that will filled with fungus that has fossilized. There were also pellets of fungus food in the nests that was centuries old.

This type of agriculture is very likely to have played a part in the migration of termites from Africa to Asia. The agriculture is also part of the reason that that humans were able to inhabit various parts of the world years after termite gardening began.