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The Latest Theory On How Those Mysterious 'Mima' Mounds Were Created

In the prairies of Washington, hundreds of large, vegetation-topped mounds — dubbed mima mounds — cover the landscape in a seemingly non-random pattern. Over the years, scientists have proposed numerous theories to explain these and other mimalike mounds across the globe, the most popular of which implicate animals, particularly gophers and termites, for the pimply blemishes. But these fauna may deserve an apology, according to a new study, in which scientists argue that natural processes involving the spatial patterning of plants produce mimalike mounds. "My sense of the literature is that people look at the mounds and think they're faunally generated by default," study co-author Michael Cramer, a biologist at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, told Live Science. "Many papers are written in such a way that vegetation patterning isn't mentioned." "We're suggesting that people should have a more balanced view and entertain the possibility that vegetation could be behind mound formation," Cramer added. via Huff Post.

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