Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Tardigrade? you ask. So did I. Tardigrade was the answer to a crossword clue, and as I didn't know what it meant, I went searching and found a fascinating little creature. Picture a manatee about 1 mm long. Fat body, smooth but folded skin, 8 short fat legs, stubby nose, small round eyes, and all 1 mm long. And we have all probably met the little guy at one time or another. Tardigrade live in the water or in damp conditions. So they could be crawling around moss or lichen, or swimming in the local pond. They eat plants and bacteria. We don't hear about them because they don't bother us. Wikipedia told me that these amazing creatures can go into suspended animation for years if they dry out. They can also withstand much more radiation than we ever could, they can live in a vacumn, and as for living in the cold? Well, -200C is ok with them. Marvelous. Google tardigrade and you will find some very neat pictures of them. They are also called water bears or moss piglets (love that name).