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Cathedrals in the Desert

Figure 1. The relatively small size of the trees in the Top End’s savanna environments may not have been able to support termite colonies, leading them to evolve mounds whose size was not restricted by tree diameter. Credit: Jan Sobotnik

Figure 1. The relatively small size of the trees in the Top End’s savanna environments may not have been able to support termite colonies, leading them to evolve mounds whose size was not restricted by tree diameter. Credit: Jan Sobotnik

By Nathan Lo

Termite mounds populate the northern Australian landscape like miniature skyscrapers, yet genetic analyses reveal that the first termites that rafted to our shores originally built their nests in trees. Why did they do this?

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