From Egyptians and Chinese to Michelangelo and Gaudi, the history of mankind is full of brilliant architects who have designed some of the most impressive buildings. And yet, people were not the first beings to have built their own dwellings.
At a time when people were still living in huts, some animals had been building complex and very ingenious structures for millennia.
Here are some of the architectural wonders made by animals.
Despite popular belief, the Great Wall of China Google Earthcan not be seen from space . But do you know what construction on Earth really can be seen from space? The 850-meter high barrage dam in the northern Alberta region of Canada.
Discovered by chance by someone who sails on Google Earth , the dam is the largest structure on the planet built by animals. Experts say construction of the dam would have lasted over 20 years.
The barrage can be seen in images captured by satellites in 1990. Built to keep out enemies (like the Great Wall of China ), the barrage is now an attraction for people astonished by the fact that so few creatures have managed to build something so great.
The dam protects the beasts of many of their enemies, such as foxes and bears. In addition, the huge construction houses several generations of beavers.
The usual dikes built by beavers can generally reach half the size of the Canadian.
Probably termites are more famous for demolishing structures than building them. But the termites that find shelter in people’s homes are just the ones – to say so – lazy.
In the wilderness, termites live in elaborate moss, built of earth, mud, wood and their own excrement. The word “hills” does not describe them correctly, because each structure is a “mega-tree” with a height of about 9 meters, which supports itself.
Reported to the human scale, it’s as if people live in 1.5 kilometer high buildings. Under the earth, the termite colony can stretch over thousands of square feet and provide the city with everything it needs to sustain itself.
Termites cultivate their own food. The colonies are provided with underground farms where mushrooms are raised. Most impressive is the fact that all so-called mussels have “central heating”.
Terminals build their south-facing structures to adjust the heat. Moreover, there are air vents in the mussels that regulate the flow of air and temperature, crucial for the growth of mushrooms.
Looking backwards, at the time people lived in huts, the termites already lived in huge, air-conditioned structures.
Wicker birds build the largest nests of all bird species. Their buildings are permanent, housing hundreds of birds for many generations. Moreover, they “rent” birds of other species the rooms they do not use.
Birdwatching apartments are as elaborate as the luxury apartments of people, though they are made of twigs. Each space is occupied by a pair of birds and is divided into several rooms, and the entrances are at the bottom of the nest.
Indoor rooms hold the heat and are used during the night. Exterior walls are cooler and are used during the day.
The nests of these birds are so strong that they can hold hundreds of years. To protect themselves from snakes, birds have learned to mount trapped entrances made of sharp sticks.
Life in the nest is so quiet that other bird species (including the pigmeat hawk that is a carnivore) can live here, on condition that they do not eat co-locators.
Muddy beetles catch spiders for food, but they have a way out of their own to devour them: they imprison their prey in small prisons , made of mud mixed with a substance they themselves are secreting.
The mistletoe nests are made up of dozens of cells, each containing several spiders. To make sure they will not escape, the wasps paralyze them.
Then lay their eggs on the paralyzed bodies of the victims, which will be devoured by the larvae after they will hatch. In the video below, you can watch a mug of mud in action, building your nest.
Normally, spiders are competitive. They are solitary animals that stay away from each other, so you rarely have the opportunity to see many spiders together.
Still, residents of the American state of Texas have had the chance to see what happens when these insects work together.
In 2007, due to the humidity, which created an abundance of food, the population of spiders had an explosion. The insects did not disperse, but stayed in the same place, creating a canvas with a width of 180 meters .
The same phenomenon happened in Canada . This time, the canvas stretched over 24 hectares, being built by tens of millions of arachnids.