Once upon a time, ancient people atethe time of hunting with meat and harvested plants - in this respect they differed little from animals. However, about 10 thousand years ago, mankind learned to cultivate the land and grow plants on their own. This feature began to greatly distinguish people from animals and, one might say, became the impetus for the subsequent development of the human race. Until now, scientists have been sure that no one except people is engaged in the intentional cultivation of plants - animals eat what grows in the wild, and that's it. However, recently biologists have been able to find mammals that equip their burrows to grow edible plants. Moreover, they provide them with access to air and fertilizer for faster growth. What are these wonderful beasts?
- 1 The most unusual rodents in the USA
- 2 Animals farm
- 3 Why rodents are useful to humans
- 4 Insects Can Grow Plants Too
The most unusual rodents in the USA
The first known farming mammals are pocket gophers (Geomys pinetis), often referred to simply as gophers. They live in the southeastern United States andgrow up to 26 centimeters, not including the tail. Males are larger than females and weigh an average of 176 grams - individuals of both sexes are colored brown, and closer to the back of the body, the hair becomes lighter. These rodents are well adapted to life underground and have large protruding incisors designed to uproot. They use powerful claws on their front paws to dig deep holes.
Animals do farming
While observing rodents, scientistsnoticed that the length of their minks can be several hundred meters. In many of these passages, the roots of the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), which are the main food of these animals, sprout. It turns out that gophers don't just eat them, but help them grow even more by improving their tunnels, fertilizing with their own urine and feces, and protecting them from other individuals and natural enemies.
Southeastern pocket gophers are the firstknown to science mammals living creatures, in addition to people who know how to grow plants themselves. Attempts to farming have previously been seen among ants, beetles and termites, but not among mammals, said biologist Francis Putz (Francis Putz).
According to the calculations of the authors of the scientific work, growing intoRodent burrows tree roots can provide 20 to 60% of the daily calories they need for a comfortable life. By expanding their burrows, animals provide plants with access to air. Their excrement and urine act as fertilizers that speed up growth. Of course, this is a very primitive way of farming - in terms of fertilization, rodents do not strain at all, because this is a natural process. However, scientists believe that animals do this with a full understanding of the meaning of their actions.
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How rodents are useful to humans
It is believed that with their work pocket gophershelp not only themselves, but also people. During the digging of tunnels, aeration of the soil occurs, that is, it is well saturated with oxygen. In addition, during the creation of minks, rodents raise part of the substances necessary for plant growth to the surface. Due to all this, without even suspecting, American ground squirrels increase soil fertility. Rodents of this species are not among the endangered, and this is good. Because when they disappear, the crop can suffer greatly.
Why are naked mole rats the most long-lived rodents in the world? Answer here
Insects also know how to grow plants
It is noteworthy that insects like antsmastered agriculture earlier than pocket gophers and even people. Previously, scientists were surprised to find that ants of the species Philidris nagasau living on the island of Fiji have been able to grow plants for millions of years. They search for and find the seeds of the herbaceous plant Squamellaria and plant them in cracks in the bark of trees. Subsequently, they take care of them for a long time, for example, fertilize - how exactly this happens is not clear, but there is an assumption that insects simply defecate the stems of the plant. As a result, they get fruits rich in sugar, which you can not only eat, but also live in them.
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At the end of the article, it is worth noting that many rodentsare carriers of dangerous diseases. For example, rats found even in cities can infect any person with leptospirosis and a number of other diseases. Read more about it here.