Viewport width =
September 20, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

The Water Bear

‘Water bear’ or ‘moss piglet’ are both names by which the tardigrade is commonly known, and both imply that it’s a lot more appealing than it actually is. There’s not a lot cute or cuddly, actually, about the tardigrade; it resembles a bear in its gait only, and even that requires a considerable imaginative leap—or some very potent bear goggles! (Sorry. I’ll stop now.) It is, however, quite a fascinating creature otherwise. Over 1000 species of tardigrade have been documented across the globe, including in mountain ranges above 6000 metres, the deep ocean below 4000 metres, and even polar regions. This is because tardigrades are polyextremophiles, they can survive at almost any temperature, pressure or radiation; they can live for almost a decade without water; and they are the only known animal capable of surviving the vacuum of space. Yes, that’s right—space: tardigrades were present on the Foton-M3 mission into low Earth orbit in September 2007, and returned to Kazakhstan 10 days later unharmed. Makes Laika the dog look a bit shit, really, doesn’t it? Sure, they might not be cute, but cute doesn’t get you far in this life. You don’t survive the impact of 5000 gamma-rays being cute. We’ve got a lot to learn from the tardigrade.

ANIMAL FACT!
If the moon was an animal, it would be the biggest animal.

Email suggestions for an upcoming ‘Animal’ to elle@salient.org.nz

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Elle started out at Salient reviewing music. In 2010, she wrote features and Animal of The Week, which an informal poll revealed to be 40% of Victoria students' favourite part of the magazine. Alongside Uther Dean, she was co-editor for 2011. In 2012, she is chief features writer.

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. Storytime: Angst, Agony, and Adorable Babies in Teen Mom YouTube
  2. VUWSA Responds to Provost’s Mid-Year Assessment Changes
  3. Te Papa’s Squid is Back and Better Than Ever
  4. Draft Sexual Harassment Policy Consultation Seeing Mixed Responses
  5. Vigil Held For Victims of Sri Lankan Easter Sunday Attacks
  6. Whakahokia te reo mai i te mata o te pene, ki te mata o te arero – Te Wharehuia Milroy Dies Aged 81
  7. Eye on the Exec – 20/05
  8. Critic to Launch Hostile Takeover of BuzzFeed
  9. Issue 10 – Like and Subscribe
  10. An Overdue Lesson in Anatomy

Editor's Pick

Burnt Honey

: First tutorial of the year. When I open the door, I underestimate my strength, thinking it to be all used up in my journey here. It swings open violently and I trip into the room where awkward gazes greet me. Frozen, my legs are lead and I’m stuck on display for too long. My ov