Paleoburrows are the vernacular architecture of extinct megafauna. With enough headroom for the average-height human, the giant sloth tunnels of Brazil speak to the industry of their creators.
Once Professor Frank got a taste of one tunnel, he went looking for more and was shocked to see just how many were laying in plain sight. By using Google and examining photos people post, he's been able to document over 1,500 paleoburrows. But, now that these areas have been discovered, researchers are in a race against time. Once the tunnels are exposed, they run the risk of being ruined by the elements—or by humans who deface them. Projeto Paleotocas, which was started by Frank, aims to document as many of these tunnels as possible and also raise awareness about the need to preserve them. As construction goes up—whether it's residential buildings or highways—there's a great risk of losing these sites. And while there is still so much mystery surrounding them, including their exact age and what animal dug them, that is part of what makes the field so exciting.
Welcome to my new blog, "Megafauna Burrow or Alarming Colonoscopy?"