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Main Discussion Zone => Science => Topic started by: jaimehlers on May 10, 2013, 10:29:36 AM

Title: The water bear - one of the best survivors ever
Post by: jaimehlers on May 10, 2013, 10:29:36 AM
Otherwise known as a [wiki]tardigrade[/wiki], it's a animal extremophile that is generally about a millimeter long when fully grown (so it is visible to the unaided human eye).  It can survive in temperatures from nearly absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, it can withstand pressures greater than those found in the deepest ocean trenches all the way to a vacuum, it can survive doses of radiation that are hundreds of times stronger than what a human can possibly survive, and they've been known to survive in these conditions for at least a decade, probably longer.  The secret is that they dehydrate in these extreme conditions to 1% or so of their normal amount of water[1] and go into a state of stasis, which they come back out of when they rehydrate.

Apparently, they took these organisms into space and exposed them to vacuum for ten days, then rehydrated them, and more than 2/3 of the ones that were protected from solar radiation survived.  Even more incredibly, some of them actually survived exposure to full solar radiation for that time frame.

Truly an impressive example of what life is capable of.
 1. 85% of their body weight is water, so this is astounding in and of itself
Title: Re: The water bear - one of the best survivors ever
Post by: Nick on May 10, 2013, 10:40:43 AM
Wonder what God was thinking when he made these animals?  Or are they like slugs and don't count.
Title: Re: The water bear - one of the best survivors ever
Post by: One Above All on May 10, 2013, 10:46:24 AM
Truly an impressive creature.
Title: Re: The water bear - one of the best survivors ever
Post by: Mrjason on May 10, 2013, 10:51:27 AM
those little guys are indestructible! They'd make great pets for the kids.
Title: Re: The water bear - one of the best survivors ever
Post by: screwtape on May 10, 2013, 11:36:16 AM
We think this is all here for us.  It is not.  It is for them.  They are god's chosen species. 
Title: Re: The water bear - one of the best survivors ever
Post by: Mooby on May 11, 2013, 09:12:46 AM
They're also cute as hell.
Title: Re: The water bear - one of the best survivors ever
Post by: Quesi on May 11, 2013, 10:40:20 AM
Praise the lord!  This is most certainly intelligent design at work!

And they are also known as moss piglets!  How sweet is that?

those little guys are indestructible! They'd make great pets for the kids.

I'm getting a pair for my daughter.  We are going to mate them, and share them with all the kids in the neighborhood!  You wait and see.  Everyone is going to want one!  They will be hotter than pet ferrets. 

Since I might find it a little difficult to tell the little boy moss piglets from the little girl moss piglets, I hope it is ok with god if I get one of the species that is parthenogenic.  That way, I can be sure to get a positive return on my investment. 

And just think.  We can bring them EVERYWHERE.  They can play in the ice on a cruise to Antarctica, and they'll be fine if we bring them to Yellowstone and the kids accidently drop them in Old Faithful.   What's more, as space tourism develops, we can bring them along, let them play outside, and even bring them on spacewalks!
Title: Re: The water bear - one of the best survivors ever
Post by: Mooby on May 11, 2013, 06:04:06 PM
You could also get your kids some of these. (http://www.giantmicrobes.com/us/products/waterbear.html)
Title: Re: The water bear - one of the best survivors ever
Post by: screwtape on May 12, 2013, 10:24:05 AM
They're also cute as hell.

If they were even the size of a squirrel, they'd be terrifying.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GRQwupdH4iw/UV1k9HA3z4I/AAAAAAAAjII/_OpJXKndZAk/s1600/Waterbear+1.jpg
http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/6-water-bear-eye-of-science-and-science-source.jpg
http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/2-water-bear-eye-of-science-and-science-source.jpg

This is even more horrifying:
http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/132700/view
a tardigrade in its dormant state.  Ew.

Title: Re: The water bear - one of the best survivors ever
Post by: Mooby on May 12, 2013, 11:30:22 AM
Nah I'd still think they were pretty cool looking. Would likely have to keep them in an aquarium though--they don't seem like cuddlers.
Title: Re: The water bear - one of the best survivors ever
Post by: jaimehlers on May 12, 2013, 01:16:39 PM
Well, it's cause they look alien to us - we're not used to seeing something that looks like that.  There are some perfectly ordinary small animals that can look pretty scary to people who aren't used to them.
Title: Re: The water bear - one of the best survivors ever
Post by: Betelnut on May 12, 2013, 06:06:15 PM
Well, it's cause they look alien to us - we're not used to seeing something that looks like that.  There are some perfectly ordinary small animals that can look pretty scary to people who aren't used to them.

Your quote reminds me of the classic SpongeBob where he encounters--to his absolute terror--a butterfly for the first time.  The close-up shots of the "terrifying" butterfly are hilarious because they actually do look kind of scary!