The researchers wanted to find out how plant roots behave in the underground tunnels dug by small rodents. But the rodents at the site did not cooperate.
Goffers look a bit like a cross between a mole and a mouse. They occur in various places in America where they live underground. They specialize in digging tunnels. Some of these tunnels are up to 160 meters long. Life on land is safer from predators than life on land, but digging tunnels requires a lot of energy. If the animals only ate what they encountered while digging, it would not be enough to survive. So how do they get enough calories?
To answer this question, the researchers wanted to study the tunnel sections. But every time they deposited a piece, the dealers were working around and through it. After several failed attempts, they finally managed to block some parts well enough. They can see that the roots of trees and plants are growing deeper in the tunnels than in other places, and the weeds seem to be messing with the plants. As if they were growing their own food.
Now this research has been done in one area and so we still have to look at how it happened in other places, but if it’s true, the gaffer is the first non-human mammal to grow food. We already knew about ants, termites, and beetles.
Read more: Are jeep gophers underground farmers?
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