Jul 15 2013

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Water bear says hello


(via NatGeo)


Skip to comment form

  1. 1

    Finally, a thread to post cute animal movies in.

  2. 2

    Posted too quickly – the guy in the video is a bit strange …

  3. 3
    Glen Davidson

    Now that looks designed. Out of paper.

    Glen Davidson

  4. 4
    chigau (違う)

    Glen Davidson

    Now that looks designed. Out of paper.

    Well, I’ll be….

  5. 5
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Is it weird that I seriously want to pet it?

  6. 6
    Glen Davidson

    I got to thinking that the paper look might mean something cellulose-like (chitin), chigau, so I looked it up, and sure enough, chitin’s one component of its exterior.*

    Thin chitin should be papery, I’d think.

    I like the origami ones, too.

    Glen Davidson

    *Most sources I saw said so. A few claimed otherwise.

  7. 7
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    I think water bears are absolutely adorable! They’re all rounded and they have cute little feet.

  8. 8
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    NateHevens: http://www.giantmicrobes.com/ca/products/waterbear.html

    There are snuggleable varieties.

    And I know I want one.

  9. 9
    Martin Wagner

    They look like they were born wearing little hazmat suits.

  10. 10
    lehman scott

    WooHoo, it’s Me, it’s Meeeee!!

  11. 11

    Hi everybody,

    There’s a guy on the Science Forum at the Amazon web site who claims that the theory of evolution by natural selection is no longer a falsifiable proposition. He says it has been proven to the point that no possible falsification is conceivable.

    To me, this seems contrary to what I know about science. Popper, et.al. (I’ve read some philosophy of science, but it’s not my specialty.)

    I know that for all practical purposes the jury is in, and we are as confident about this field as we are about anything in science. But is this writer correct? Is the theory beyond falsifiability even in principle?

    Here is his argument:

    “Almost all scientific theories are universal statements, such as Newtonian mechanics (true at moderate speeds) and relativistic mechanics (true at all speeds), which are not provably true even though there are piles of evidence which show that they are correct. But the theory of evolution consists of existential statements only, which are provable by demonstration (and have been):
    - Heritable mutations occur.
    - Some mutations are more beneficial to survival than the un-mutated parents.
    Thus the ToE is provably correct, and of course also demonstrably correct as well.”

    The page is here:


    I’m curious what real scientists make of this. Thanks.

    –Hiroshima Eric

  12. 12

    PZ Myers

    That looks like an alien from another planet.

  13. 13
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    Obligatory song, courtesy of Mal Webb: linky

  14. 14

    Wow. Truly awesome.

  15. 15

    As my partner and I were heading to bed, I showed this to her. Her response?

    “Thank you for killing any residual sexual urge. And fuck you for the nightmares.”

    And off to bed we go. :)

  16. 16
    Glen Davidson

    As my partner and I were heading to bed, I showed this to her. Her response?

    “Thank you for killing any residual sexual urge. And fuck you for the nightmares.”

    And off to bed we go. :)

    Tell her how cool they are, how they can dessicate and revive, survive extreme (relative to other life, anyhow) radiation, and tolerate extremes of temperatures.

    No, wait, that seems unlikely to really help.

    Glen Davidson

  17. 17
    Charlie Foxtrot

    Water bears can knit? OK. Nice scarf.

  18. 18

    those things are remarkable in every way.
    what blows my mind is the very wide range of environment they can survive in, that is pretty assume heat temperatures that would render any other animal cooked to over done, cold to make no sense and pressure and the vacuum of space just wow. How or why did they ever evolve to acquire such traits?

    uncle frogy

  19. 19

    spell check sucks as well as my ability to proof read
    awesome instead of assume
    uncle frogy.

  20. 20
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    It looks like a model, so I followed the link aaaand… nope, it’s real. It’s a color-enhanced electron microscope photo. That thing is only half a millimeter long!

    Cool :)

    The green stuff is moss, if anyone’s interested.

  21. 21


    I’ve got one! My sister gave it to me last Christmas. It’s awesome. It’s not 100% accurate, in that it has the same eyes that a teddy-bear has. But that does make it cuter.

  22. 22

    True story: Right after molting, female waterbear lay their eggs inside the shedded skin, then the male comes along and mates with it, fertilizing the eggs. You can say they invented the blow-up doll.

  23. 23

    Are they in a phyla of their own? It does not look segmented.

  24. 24
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened


    You can say they invented the blow-up doll.


  25. 25

    Is that a camera lens?

    My god, the NSA is everywhere!

  26. 26
  27. 27

    Some comments made me curious so I looked up tardigrades at wikipedia:

    Tardigrades can withstand temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, pressures about 6 times stronger than pressures found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than would kill a person, and the vacuum of outer space. They can go without food or water for nearly 120 years, drying out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to rehydrate, forage, and reproduce.


  28. 28

    That looks like my 2nd grade papier-mâché project, my pet dog, Roscoe. The art teacher asked why my dog had six legs. I explained to her that one of the six appendages was his tail and the other one was (in the vernacular of my youth) his “pee pee.” Needless to say, in the early ’60s, that bit of information didn’t go over too well with Sister Mary Daniel.

  29. 29

    Wait a minute… if it’s a scanning electron micrograph, and the little beasty can survive vacuum, cold almost down to absolute zero, and high doses of radiation…

    Is this a snapshot of a living one? Did it just walk away during the photo shoot? When you scan one and record the stage location, does the next viewing require a circular search pattern to find it again?

  30. 30

    Tell your wife that there are too many to count walking around on her face right now.
    It won’t be true but it will be funny.

  31. 31

    With insight gleaned from my children, I’d say it looks like a Pokemon.

    “Water Bear, I choose YOU!!!”

  32. 32

    Very cool looking animal. What’s the deal with the mouth? It looks like part of a socket wrench set.

  33. 33
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Oooooh, that looks familiar: Mildly subversive tardigrade.

    @ lehman scott

    For the newly arrived on Pharyngula, we have an explanatory video: Pharyngula: The Movie ™

  34. 34

    How or why did they ever evolve to acquire such traits?

    They evolved to occupy seasonally desiccated environments (mosses, mostly). The ability to dry up and rehydrate later just happens to confer resistance to all those other environmental stressors.


    pffft. Color faked added later.

    Are they in a phyla of their own?

    The singular is ‘phylum’. Yes, Tardigrada.

  35. 35
    David Marjanović

    I found the gallery! Don’t click – the pictures change every 20 seconds. :-)

    cold to make no sense

    Once they’re dry, you can boil them in helium (it’s been done), heat them up again, rehydrate them, and they just walk away.

    True story:

    Ends up looking like this.

    It does not look segmented.

    Segmentation isn’t a property of organisms, it’s a property of organ systems. Tardigrada and Arthropoda are each other’s closest living relatives.

    What’s the deal with the mouth?

    That’s actually pretty normal in Ecdysozoa. The arthropods have mostly lost it.

    Pharyngula: The Movie ™

    “Leider ist dieses Video, das Musik von SME beinhaltet, in Deutschland nicht verfügbar, da die GEMA die Verlagsrechte hieran nicht eingeräumt hat.”

    Overbearing copyright collection agency has, with German thoroughness, not conceded publisher’s rights, so the video isn’t available in Germany.

    This happens a lot.

    Just cut the music out (no sound here in the museum anyway) and upload it again. :-)

  36. 36
    Pierce R. Butler

    I await the PixarⓇ version with fear and trembling.

  37. 37
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ DDFM

    By some Miracle_of_Awlmarty_Gawd ™ the music tracked perfectly to the video. Can I send you the original P2P? theophontesathotmaildotcom (create temp acc if need be, or I’ll just snailmail the thing.)

  38. 38
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ David Marjanović

    Try this link: Skydrive.

    (We cannot even share shits-n-giggles… what is up with this interwebz shit?)

  39. 39
    Chie Satonaka

    I’d never heard of these before. Sent the photo scare the shit out of all of my co-workers, who are busy googling water bears and finding more pictures now. LOL.

  40. 40
    lehman scott

    @ theophontes Great video, thanks! I love it!

  41. 41
    David Marjanović

    Try this link: Skydrive.

    Not bad… not bad at all. Will have to watch it with sound later. :-)

  42. 42

    David Marjanović,

    Do they even make a sound?

  43. 43
    David Marjanović

    No, I’m talking about the music that allegedly fits so well. See above.

Comments have been disabled.