22 thoughts on “Name That Animal

  1. first glance, it looks like some strange costume composed of drab brown bedsheets, and a strange straw in the front.


    This is a tardigrade. From the link Susan sent me:

    Or take a class of microscopic animals known as tardigrades – commonly known as water bears – which live in thin films of water present in soil, mosses, leaves, and more. “They live in water and when where they live dries up, they dry up,” says John Crowe, a biologist at the University of California, Davis, who has been studying anhydrobiosis for four decades. But they don’t die – instead, they can remain in a state of suspended animation for decades, and when they’re rehydrated, they spring right back to life.

  3. I’ve read that they’re not sure how long these water bears can live because they keep coming back to life many times and would be a canadate for space exploration because of their ability to withstand extreme tempetures & dehydration. But what good would one be in space? They can’t drive the ship & have no purpose other than eye entertainment in a microscope.

    1. They can’t drive the ship (probably) but they could tell us useful information. For example, if sent to Mars, a rover could be programmed to remove them from the spaceship and place them on the planet surface. Then the rover could collect them after a designated time, they could be sent back to earth and studied. Did they undergo any changes? Are they still capable of reproduction? etc. If water bears can survive on Mars, what other forms of life might be living there?

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