Tardigrades – aliens among us
Waterbears are incredible, yet strange creatures. Most people don’t know anything about the excistance of tiny little bear look-alikes, who live in moss cushions, grass, under water and in solid ice and are lesser then a 1 mm in size. Tardigrades come in different bright colors, orange, red, green and are equipped with eight leggs, and two knife-like teeth, which they use for stabbing the plant and sucking the juices out. These little animals are the hardiest animals on earth and can be found anywhere around the globle. They withstand the pressures of vaccuum, they can survive in absolute zero and boiling water, they were even sent into open space, in a TARDIS programme (tardigrades in space), where they survived full ten days, before safely returning to the ground.
The secret of tardigrades lies in their amazing ability to hibernate – when they sense that the environment becomes unfriendly, they transform into a little ball, which – like a self sufficient microsystem – withstands the agressive environments, radiation and other harsh conditions. All they need is just a tiny drop of water to come back to life. Some believe that tardigrades were the first to colonize the planet Earth, due to their extreme survival skills, they could have possibly travelled to us on an asteroid from outter space. In theory tardigrades could be able to live forever and despite their discovery back in the 18th century, these little animals go unnoticed in most biology books. Puzzled? Check out this interesting link if you want to know more http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artjun00/mmbearp.html