Canadian artist Julie Laurin recently started a livestream of tardigrades — microscopic, eight-legged micro-animals also known as “water bears” — wriggling around on Twitch. And it’s exactly the kind of thing we need right now.
You can watch a full, narrated hour of tardigrade action on Laurin’s Twitch channel.
The stream, first spotted by Boing Boing, is part of a project called “A Tiny World” that explores microscopic life that surrounds us.
“By sharing this journey with you, my hope is that maybe you’ll be inspired to get your own microscope, or to look closer at the little objects and creatures all around you!” Laurin’s description of the project reads on an official website.
So where is Laurin finding all of these critters? In dirt found on her balcony.
— A tiny world (Julie Laurin) (@atinyworldorg) March 25, 2020
“There are hundreds and hundreds of #Tardigrades that live on my balcony and I think they thrive in this brownish-greenish film and dirt that has formed over the years due to improper draining,” Laurin wrote in a tweet.
First discovered by biologists in the late 1700s, tardigrades are tiny micro-animals that can be found in a huge variety of environments, from oceans to sand dunes.
They’re also immensely resilient creatures: they can survive the vacuum of space, adapt to severe dehydration, and can even block intense blasts of radiation. But they might have an Achilles heel after all, according to recent research: global warming.