Research funds received from the Joint Research Committee of Rhodes University; field assistance of M. Diop as well as access to South African farms are gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are due to J.S. Marsh, A. Bumby, D. Ambrose and P. Jacklyn for the insightful scientific discussions, to R. Prevec for assistance with some of the close up images, and to A. Bumby, whom after consultation with P.A. Fleming and P. Bateman, suggested the possible arid climate cradle of termite sociality. I am very grateful for the constructive comments of D. Loope and J. MacEachern provided on an earlier version of this manuscript as well as for the suggestions made by two anonymous reviewers and the editors of the Palaeontologia Electronica.