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Sacrificial Casts: Walter Tschinkel’s Aluminum Casts of Ant Colonies Reveals Insect Architecture

October 19, 2012

Retiree Walter R. Tschinkel is an entomologist and former professor of Biological Science at Florida State University. He recognizes ants as “some of nature’s grand architects” and, curious to understand their self-created habitats, devised a clever (if cruel) way to do it: By pouring molten aluminum down into the hole.

Unsurprisingly, the ants die in the process. But after the aluminum cools and Tschinkel has completed a meticulous excavation, he unearths these wondrous, chandelier-esque shapes revealing the alien architectures of the colony.

Text and Image via Core77

In the documentary bellow you will find the largest sacrificial concrete cast in history (around 41:00). Here you will be transported into the world of ants through the eyes of Bert Hölldobler, a world authority on these amazing animals.

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