Humans built the Petronas towers, the Burj Khalifa, the Shanghai tower and the pyramids and the Stonehenge.
Humans have always celebrated their architecture – we call the best of them as the wonders of the world.
Yes, our feats in building awesome structures are incredible. But you know what else is incredible? Animals and small insects that build even more impressive structures with absolutely no knowledge of structural mechanics and civil engineering.
Here are some wonders of the animal kingdom who beat humans at the whole architecture game.
1. Ants that build supercolonies which accommodate hundreds of millions of ants
One of the biggest colonies ever found in the world was on a small island in Japan where a network of 45 anthills was connected and this supercolony was spread over 3 square kilometers. The scientists estimate the population of this supercolony to be about 307 million ants.
These supercolonies have everything – air conditioning, farms, soldiers and water sources. One such supercolony in Argentina stretched over 6000 kilometers.
Only humans surpass such supercolonies.
2. Beavers create dams that are hundreds of meters long
On an average, a typical beaver dam is about 2 meters high and 1.5 meters wide. But recently scientists found a beaver dam that was an astounding 850 meters long!
The biologists estimated that the colony of beavers must have taken over 20 years to build it. Beavers keep repairing the structures they live in and hence we come across the term “busy as a beaver”.
3. Termites create skyscrapers that are megacities with farms and water supplies inside.
You know how small termites are. Some termite colonies build termite colonies that are almost 5 meters tall. Each of this structure is like a megacity in itself – harboring tens of millions of termites.
They collect water through the method of condensation and also undertake farming – growing fungus for food.
All inside their megacities. One such termite city was found to be over 2000 years old.
4. Spiders create webs that cover entire fields
Sometimes spiders abandon their individuality and start making giant webs because the density of their preys over an area increases dramatically.
This results in massive webs that cover trees and even entire fields. The biggest are one such web has covered was over 25 hectares of field.
5. Weaver birds create apartment buildings on trees
No, that is not a single nest. It is akin to an apartment building. In colonies as big as the one shown above, over 400 weaver birds can live together.
And just like us, each nest inside the colony is occupied by one couple like a family. The inner chambers are hotter and are used at night and the outer chambers are cold and are used during the day.
Some nests are over 100 years old.
6. Paper wasps create waterproof paper housing that is parasite-proof too
Paper wasps eat wood and plant fiber and convert them into paper – which is used to make homes. This paper is waterproof and provides them protection from parasites too.
The big disadvantage they have with their nest is that it fall apart during winter and they have to rebuild it over spring.
7. Caddisfly Larvae make individual homes out of almost anything
Caddisfly larvae build homes out of any material that is lying around them while they are in the larvae stage. They will use anything around them – gravel, thin twigs, leaves and small wood splinters.
Scientists put these larvae with small pieces of gold and small gems and look what they created.
8. Mud wasps make restaurants for their newborn where they store the prey they catch
Yes, they are not homes. They are restaurants for their newborn. Mud dauber wasps paralyze their prey and put them inside a cell in one of these restaurants for the newborn.
Then these wasps put their eggs on the helpless and paralyzed prey, and when the eggs hatch, the newborn feed on the available food.
9. Underground cities of Gophers stretch for kilometers and have separate rooms for separate purposes
Gophers literally build towns underground. They are spread over acres and acres. And the biggest of them can accommodate over thousands of gophers.
These cities have separate rooms for sleeping, separate tunnels for traveling and even nursery holes for small gophers. They even pile their holes up with leaves and dirt to prevent water from flooding the city during rains.
Turns out there are insects and animals that are as good as humans in construction.
They are also building a better world for themselves.