Have You Seen This? Giant morphing ball of ants

Posted September 27, 2016

ANT LAND — Ants were an insect I recall learning about in school and being immediately fascinated by.

The one fact that always seemed the most improbable was that ants can lift 20 times their own weight. They participate in remarkable teamwork to build homes and gather food — something I remember observing in the quintessential picnic setting as an ant carried off a too-large bit of sugar cookie.

There have been several movies made anthropomorphizing these creatures (“Antz,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Ant-Man”) because there’s something so mesmerizing about them.

Enter a video made by Insider on YouTube demonstrating the seriously incredible capabilities of a group of fire ants.

Spearheaded by researchers at Georgia Tech, the behaviors of fire ant colonies are demonstrating that they can accomplish much more in groups than we maybe considered possible.

As evidenced in the video, conglomerations of ants can manipulate themselves into shapes, utilizing a strong grip and a keen communication system. When introduced to water, they spread themselves out to displace water and form a raft, and can even form themselves around objects, acting like Utah’s favorite dessert — Jello.

I can’t decide if this research has me comforted or disturbed. On one hand, yay! — nature is incredible. On the other hand, I’m reminded of the somewhat sinister microbots from another movie: “Big Hero 6.” Seriously, all it takes is a couple million of these guys and some mind-controlling professor before they’re doing his evil bidding.

Be sure to watch the video and tell us what you think in the comments: Creepy or cool?


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