Everyone loves the water bears

Tardigrades. I blogged about them way back in January, when I was busily preparing fluff articles for submission as part of my MSc application. I was pretty amazed at how awesome they are.

Little did I know that the cute wee fellas would become one of the highest search-term hits leading people here. While it’s not exactly an avalanche of traffic, I frequently see phrases like “pet tardigrades” and “stuff about water bears” showing up on my stats page. So what is it about water bears?

For one, they have two insanely cool names. ‘Water bear’ on its own makes me picture a giant polar bear made out of shimmering water droplets; kind of like the bouncing drops in this video, but bear-shaped.

Then there’s the name ‘tardigrade’ itself. It sounds fairly technical, but it rolls off the tongue with a certain level of class to it. I can just imagine an upper-class Englishman at a dinner party saying, “Ah, yes, well as you can imagine, the tardigrades positively love their new habitat in the rooftop greenhouse at our manor.”

Combine that with their famous attributes (surviving the vacuum of space being their crowning achievement) and they’re a recipe for success. Plus, they’re a lot more fun to talk about than my next biggest search term hits, which are book reviews or my name. If you want to see a tardigrade, watch this video and try not to die from laughter at the ridiculous narration.

See, I told you the word ‘tardigrade’ sounds cool. That guy makes it sound like a weapon of mass destruction.

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Categories: Science, Videos | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Everyone loves the water bears

  1. m@

    Gee that was INTENSE.

  2. m@

    I can’t help but wonder if the general public would misconstrue what the narrator is getting in the final seconds of the clip:

    ‘It’s an astounding capability, (dramatic swoop noise, and images of a meteor appear) suggesting that alien organisms could reach our planet on a meteor’.

    Some Nat-geographic documentaries seem to make good use of climaxing to to a pretty vague soundbite left open to the imagination. Some would probably start believing that this is evidence of extraterrestrial life right here on earth… which would be completely off the mark.

  3. Yeah, it’s a fairly incredible leap to go from “tardigrades exposed to space for a few days can regenerate in water” to “ALIENS ON COMETS”.

    Though he had the voice to pull it off.

  4. Peter

    scored a good post in your roulette – when you put these on my broadband was shaped, so i was pleased to have another chance.

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