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Surveying a 45-mile stretch of highway construction near the city of Porto Alegre, for example, Frank and his students identified paleoburrows in more than 70 percent of road cuts. Although many are completely filled with sediment, they remain readily apparent, standing out like dark, round knots in a dirt bank. Others are still open, like the one that first attracted Frank’s attention.
When Frank found a suitable passage, he squeezed through an elliptical shaft roughly four-feet wide, 65-feet long and lined with claw marks. Extrapolating from the original size of the hill sliced away for the highway, he calculated that the original burrow was about 250 feet long, not counting for twists and turns that it surely once included.
“There’s no geological process in the world that produces long tunnels with a circular or elliptical cross-section, which branch and rise and fall, with claw marks on the walls,” says Frank. “I’ve [also] seen dozens of caves that have inorganic origins, and in these cases, it’s very clear that digging animals had no role in their creation.”
The main shafts – since enlarged by erosion – were originally more than six feet tall and three to five feet wide; an estimated 4,000 metric tons of dirt and rock were dug out of the hillside to create the burrow.
originally posted by: punkinworks10
a reply to: Byrd
Glyptodonts, think glyptodonts.
They are right size. There is talk of the similarity in body design between them and turtles. Recent work shows that tuttles shells and body plan are an adaptation to burrowing. Havent several glyptodnt fossils have been found rolled up in a ball, as though they had burrowed into the ground and died.