A video purportedly showing thousands of fire ants form a ball and behave “like a material” was widely circulated on the Internet this weekend.

“In this video, about 8,000 fire ants are placed in a beaker. The walls of the beaker are lightly dusted with talc powder to prevent the ants from escaping,” the YouTube description says. “The ants link to one another and as a group behave as a bulk material with viscoelastic properties. The elastic response is due to compliance in the linkages.”

“The viscous response is due to the constant breaking and reforming of bonds under applied stresses,” it continues. “This ‘active matter’ phenomena presents the opportunity to model the ant aggregation as a continuum with measurable intensive properties.”

The footage, which appears to have initially been posted to YouTube last year, started going viral after it was posted on Reddit Saturday. At the time of publication, the video had 61,331 views.

Watch the viral footage:

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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