Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tardigrade - The wonder animal

I had been to Sweden a few years back. There was an exhibition in ice, celebrating the bicentenary of Carl Von Linnaeus aka Father of Taxonomy. For the uninitiated - taxonomy is basically naming all living things in terms of genus & species (like names & surnames) using Latin names.

There I saw an ice sculpture of an animal which looked like a rugby ball with 8 legs. It was funny. It was so big that 3 people like me could have gone for a ride on it. It was named 'Tardigrade'. I londered why was this creature of such great scientific importance that it merited a huge carving.

The exhibition guide told me facts I never knew. Here are more details :

Tardigrade (also known as 'water bear/moss piglet') is found in sea water, fresh water and moist land. It measures anywhere between .1mm to 1.5mm. in length (so small)

It can survive in temperatures no other living being can hope to even live close to. -273 degree Celsius (absolute zero) to 151 degrees Celsius.

It can withstand 1000 times more radiation than any other animal.

It can come back alive after having a trip in the vacuum of outer space for a few days.

It can withstand pressures of 1200 times the atmospheric pressure and 6 times the pressure of the deepest ocean.

It can go for 10 years without water reducing its body water content to only 3% from 85%.

Due to cryptobiosis (amazing hibernation like state) it can adapt to almost all adverse environmental conditions.

And I thought boiling water for 20 minutes took care of everything :)



  1. Awesome piece of information.Only when you know the potential and abilities that you praise something :)
    Thanks a lot for sharing :)

  2. you are most welcome. Yes true, sometimes our resoect grows exponentially when we come to know the amazing feats of unassuming beings :)


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