After spending decades puzzling over the origin of Mima mounds, scientists have suggested that pocket gophers may be the mystery architects of the 8-foot-tall, 30-foot-wife dirt pyramids.
Mima mounds - massive, grass-covered round or oval earth pimples - were first discovered in 1841 in Western Washington state in a 630-acre prairie.
In the 19th century, explorers came up with a theory that the mounds dating back thousands of years are ancient Native American burial sites - but no human remains were ever found inside the loosely packed structures.
Nature's pyramids: Geologists in California have proposed theory suggesting that pocket gophers are responsible for building these 8-foot-tall, 30-foot-wide hills known as Mima mounds
Struggling to explain the existence of millions of Mima mounds peppering open fields in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, experts and amateur geology enthusiasts have come up with a plethora of possible origin stories ranging from natural disasters like earthquakes and floods to aliens.
However, a recent study spearheaded by geologist Manny Gabet, of San Jose State University in California, has created a computer model showing how generations of pocket gophers measuring up to 12 inches in length and weighing only a few hundreds grams could plausibly construct a Mima mound over 500-700 years - one handful of soil and pebbles at a time ( via dailym.ai ).