BEARS OF THE MOSS - Nature's Best Survivalist!!

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posted on Mar, 26 2005 @ 05:40 AM
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Ok, when I first became aware of this little guy I couldn't believe that they have stayed such an unknown creature for so long. For those who've never heard of a "Water Bear" before, they are IMO one of the Most Unique Members of Mother Nature's Children!!!

Their Official Names are "Tardigrades" (From the Latin Tardus for slow and Gradu a step, meaning slow walker, which they are.



More familiar names for them are "Water Bears" or "Moss Piglets"...
...My favorite hands down!! The description below gets more and more incredible as each section continues. It will amaze you I promise, enjoy!!


Tardigrades are small animals ranging in length from 0.1 to1.2 millimetres. Tardigrades live all over the world, from the deep sea bed to the Himalayas and from the tropics to the poles. Because they are so small they can be blown around the world in the wind like particles of dust. This means that terrestrial species can be found distributed all around the world.

Like "higher" animals they have digestive, excretory, and nervous systems; separate sexes; and well-developed muscles. Like "lower" animals, they lack respiratory and circulatory systems, instead, they breathe through their skin or cuticle and the whole body acts as a pump to circulate fluids.

Tardigrades are what is called eutelic, meaning there is a fixed number of cells in the body of an adult of any given species, this is normally around 40,000 cells. They have a relatively large brain and a well developed nervous system with a double suboesophagal ganglia and 4 further ganglia along the body. Being small they have no need of and therefore no gaseous exchange system and no blood system.

Tardigrades are survivors par excellence, the best in the animal kingdom. They can survive many environmental extremes by converting themselves into a 'tun'. This involves them pulling in their legs to give their body a cylindrical shape and then shutting down all their metabolism. Any other animal that is exhibiting zero metabolism is considered to be dead. Only tardigrades regularly return to life again from this state.

They perform this miracle by replacing the water in their membrane lipids with a sugar called trehalose. Different species have different survival characteristics and not all species form a tun, deep sea species, which can survive pressures as great as 6000 atmospheres for instance do not. (BTW, from my calculations 6000 atmospheres = 88,200 PSI or pounds per square inch!!!)

Other species have been known to survive temperatures as low as -272 C for a few minutes which is as close to absolute zero as you ever want to get, colder than outer space. They have also survived temperatures as low as -200 for more than 20 days or months. Other species can go to the other extreme and survive temperatures as high as 125C well above the boiling point of water. Still others survive doses of X-rays 250 times greater than that which would kill a mammal.

Tardigrades are the only animals that can survive having their photo taken in an Scanning Electron Microscope which involves placing them in a vacuum and then bombarding them with electrons. Species which survive periods of drought i.e. extreme dehydration have been revived after lying dormant for 120 years amongst the dried mosses in a botanical museum. There is no doubt that tardigrades could travel to the stars amongst the dust on a piece of rock were the earth ever to be destroyed. Scientists don't really know what their limits are but we do know they are the toughest animals alive for sure.

Despite these "capabilities", tardigrades are still little understood. In the 200 years since the waterbear was first described, we have not identified any specific medical, commercial, or environmental effect of tardigrades.


There are quite a few sites around to look them up in more detail. I would suggest wikipedia for a good start:
en.wikipedia.org...

P.S. My girlfriend made the comment that our little friend the Moss Piglet actually makes a "Perfect Taoist". Slow walking and without any Real Purposefullness, and yet they are literally everywhere. Again, even though they are everywhere they cause no noticed effects upon the environment. Along with their survival techniques, which is to simply be still and wait it out, I'd say she was absolutely correct!! What do you think??




posted on Mar, 26 2005 @ 05:57 AM
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With those capabilities, they are as close to immortality as any creature could hope to be. Their eutelic accomplishment is a direct symbol for the Ritual of Rebirth.

Maybe thats the mustard seed...the vessel of souls.

great post



posted on Mar, 26 2005 @ 07:04 AM
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``

this last paragraph stood out, to me...


Despite these "capabilities", tardigrades are still little understood.
In the 200 years since the waterbear was first described, we had not
identified any specific medical, commercial, or environmental effect of tardigrades.


Aha!...Your following insightful P.S.

I see that your GF , and yourself by implication, are not lockstepped
into the predominant 'dense-mentality' paradigm -> i.e. all things must
have a utilitarian value and/or be exploited....

i see, these insignificant creatures can/have Inspired One's Soul to higher realms of thought....


nice post mOjOm,



posted on Mar, 26 2005 @ 11:45 AM
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first, i have to say that i still see too many flaws in evolution to have faith in it, but i can say that i at least try to be open minded about "God's ways."

i think that this species is a good place to look for evolutionary consistencies, or fallacies. they could either defy all known understanding of evolution or establish a "seeds of life" theory. very interesting creature and thread.


daved



posted on Mar, 26 2005 @ 04:59 PM
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Originally posted by Dasher
first, i have to say that i still see too many flaws in evolution to have faith in it, but i can say that i at least try to be open minded about "God's ways."

i think that this species is a good place to look for evolutionary consistencies, or fallacies. they could either defy all known understanding of evolution or establish a "seeds of life" theory. very interesting creature and thread.


daved


Daved
Something I've never really understood is the resistance to evolutionary theory. I mean sure it's not exactly perfect but nothing ever is since "to err is human" and we can never know any system without some margin of error. But that has nothing to do with the Process of Evolution itself but instead the problem is with our ability to comprehend it.

Without getting into a big Religious debate here, I don't see why anyone who has faith in God must be against Evolution. It would seem to me that "True Evolutionary Function", which we are still trying to understand the complexities of, would just amount to another one of God's Processess.

It's similar to how humans study the weather and the various system process within it. Obviously we won't be able to understand it completely and so there will always be "holes" in our theories and understanding of it, but that doesn't mean that the parts that do make sense should be tossed out at the same time. You really just need to account for the fact that within any system where some parts of it have been accepted as true even though it isn't true 100% of the time that you keep in mind there is a probability of failure. Along with that failure, should it happen within a Primary Root Function & no matter how small it may be, the entire System itself can be effected. (Read up on Chaos Theory for more on that.)

St Udio,
I'm glad you liked the reference to Moss Piglet Taoism. I also find it to be yet another amusing & serendipitous clue toward understanding the deeper aspects of things. Irony can make a great sign post on the road of life. Showing those who are paying attention the grand magnificence to be found even in the smallest of things.

[edit on 26-3-2005 by mOjOm]



posted on Mar, 26 2005 @ 05:40 PM
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Originally posted by mOjOm
I'm glad you liked the reference to Moss Piglet Taoism. I also find it to be yet another amusing & serendipitous clue toward understanding the deeper aspects of things. Irony can make a great sign post on the road of life. Showing those who are paying attention the grand magnificents to be found even in the smallest of things.


And here I thought I had to post something Zen on this thread.
You've taken care of it for me.
(Check out my sig - profound splendor yadda yadda
)

These little critters are simply amazing. There are insects that can survive frozen for centuries, but these little guys are by far natures greatest survivalists.

I would love to create a water bear environment, equipped with high powered magnification walls to allow casual observation of their habits. Better than an aquarium, a bearquarium!

[edit on 26-3-2005 by WyrdeOne]



posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 02:07 PM
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Here is a little animation I came across of the Moss Piglet in action, for those who are as facinated by these little creatures as we are:




posted on Nov, 12 2005 @ 05:22 AM
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LOL I have a new favourite animal. These things are awesome lil buggers! I'm going to have to go find out more. What do they "eat"? How do they procreate? So the adults can grow upto 1.5mm, so in theory the adults should be visible to someone with a good eye? *breaks out the magnifying glass and goes huntin' for moss pigs*



posted on Nov, 12 2005 @ 05:53 AM
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You watched Animal Planet the other night too huh? I'm a waterplant operator and have seen them in raw water samples before. They are amazing.



posted on Nov, 12 2005 @ 06:43 AM
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Originally posted by I See You
You watched Animal Planet the other night too huh? I'm a waterplant operator and have seen them in raw water samples before. They are amazing.


No way. I wish I would have seen that, I watch animal planet all the time too. I actually made this post a long time ago after stumbling across something online about Moss Piglets. I'm glad that this thread has come alive again though. I'm totally amazed at these little guys. I so want to see them live.

Currently my g/f and I have a small Sea Monkey tank which has been going for about 6 months or longer now. Seen countless generations come and go. We also have a small tank of Trilobites too that are on about thier 3rd generation. But nothing is cooler than the Bears of the Moss!!



posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 06:58 AM
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1.5 mm? So it's basically like a mite or something. I'd like to try and find one. Where's the best place to start looking? Hmm... I wonder how many are in my house right now... AHH! THEY'RE ALL OVER ME!



They can survive many environmental extremes by converting themselves into a 'tun'. This involves them pulling in their legs to give their body a cylindrical shape and then shutting down all their metabolism. Any other animal that is exhibiting zero metabolism is considered to be dead. Only tardigrades regularly return to life again from this state.


Not necessarily. Frogs do the same thing, bury in the mud and essentially completely stop metabolic processes for the winter.

Reminds me of an Anklyosaurus. Give em another hundred million years.



external image



posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 07:13 AM
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These creatures insure there will always be life in the universe.



posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 07:25 AM
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You need a microscope to see them. They are in water which is where I usually see them when looking at raw water samples in the lab. I had done a seminar at the Rochester Museum and Science Center and set up some slides for the kids where there were water bears in the samples.



posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 09:23 AM
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Here's a website dedicated to the critters:
www.tardigrades.com...

With lots of pics and even videos.



posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 07:13 PM
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AYEEE!!! SUPER KAWAII!!!
CUTE! CUTE! CUTE!

Ok, well that was very unmannly of me...


I'm glad to see people are taking an interst in these fascinating, cute and hardy beasties.

They are now my new favorite species.

(Apart from men that is. hehe)


But seriously, they would make great first ambassadors to another world.
Well ,as in showing what the majority of life on our planet is based on.


I wonder if some new science could come about to enlarge them, make them the size of a salamander, that would be so cool.



posted on Feb, 23 2010 @ 06:20 PM
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These critters are quite amazing, and I actually came across a herd of them on a beach near the city of Tofino, in British Columbia, Canada.

I was walking along the beach where it ends and mixes with the forest, and I spotted the strangest looking - what I thought was a patch of odd looking sand. About 9 square feet. I got down on my knees to inspect it and realized I was looking at Water Bears. I am/was a biology nut and had actually read about them before this. But I never thought I would see one and in fact if it wasn't for this mass of them I never would have.

I wonder if any others have spotted these herds of them? Or even contemplated seeing them move together like this?



posted on Feb, 23 2010 @ 06:26 PM
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So how can we put their genes into us?



posted on Feb, 23 2010 @ 06:39 PM
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I'm just wondering what a herd of Water Bears taste like lol. hmmm. I wonder if they could survive the human digestive system? They're gonna have to come out with another Honey, I Shrunk the Kids starring the Water Bears....



posted on Feb, 23 2010 @ 07:18 PM
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reply to post by Nygdan
 





Already in the 1920s Ernst Marcus suspected glue mechanisms as he noted that some tardigrades appeared to trail sand grains linked to them with tiny fibers, similar to spider net fibers. He reported as well that the tardigrades used the sand grains to clean their body from surplus glue. So the sand grains are not only forming the maritime tardigrade living room but also serve as indispensible cleaning media.



posted on Feb, 19 2013 @ 04:38 PM
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Just thought I'd post a little update to this thread that I started about 8 years ago. Looks like the Daily Mail website has also been clued in on Natures little Survivalist too. Here's the link to their article with more pics and a short video. Once again, let's all take a second to recognize how amazing good old mother nature and her creatures are!!

Meet the toughest animal on the planet








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