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Science is cool!

This...is a real animal. It's called a Tardigrade, and it's a (barely) macroscopic animal about half a millimeter long. It has eight legs and can survive exposure to hard vacuum. It belongs to a sister phylum to arthropods, though these guys technically aren't arthropods.

This particular image comes from The Scientist, where it's a finalist in their annual science image contest.

The next time you're watching Star Trek and you see a supposedly 'alien' species that's really just a white 21st-century human with a wrinkly nose, think about the amazing diversity of body plans right here on Earth, and then think about how profoundly unlikely that would be.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 17th, 2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
awesome ( and stolen to repost on FB )
Aug. 17th, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
Wow - what an awesome little guy!
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 17th, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
Aug. 20th, 2012 01:31 pm (UTC)
< snrk > And probably demand fresh coffee all the time & harrass the young gofers when they bring it....
Aug. 17th, 2012 06:05 pm (UTC)
There is nothing cooler than tardigrades. Except possibly jumping spiders (which have vision as keen as a cat's and jump using a hydraulic system in their heads). Or onychophorans. Or anything from the Burgess Shale. Or.. oh, fuck it.
Aug. 17th, 2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
Amazing, thank you!

The universe in a /g/r/a/i/n/ /o/f/ /s/a/n/d/ drop of water.
Aug. 17th, 2012 10:03 pm (UTC)
when I first saw this photo, I thought, "now here's a seamstress with an Etsy account and way too many notions to get rid of!"

I still can't wrap my brain around This Is An Animal, even a teeny tiney one...!
Aug. 20th, 2012 01:33 pm (UTC)
I know! I thought, what a cool use for tiny watch-gears....
Aug. 17th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
I dunno. There's a reason koalas and pandas and racoons and bears and badgers all look alike. It makes sense.

Aug. 17th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
But? Awesome pic and post.;)

Aug. 17th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
They're my favorite animal! I think they're adorable; my wife thinks their hideous.
Sep. 8th, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
I too find them adorable. And fascinating. And far out.
Aug. 18th, 2012 05:44 am (UTC)
Wow! That is damn cool!
Aug. 18th, 2012 06:01 pm (UTC)
I love Bob Kanefsky's song on Roundworm, Mutant Generations, "a parody of Spiral Dance and a criticism of Star Trek. It's unfortunate that two generations are growing up thinking that aliens will look like actors with bumpy foreheads and be cross-fertile with humans."
Aug. 20th, 2012 01:34 pm (UTC)
This is so amazing. Thank you for sharing it!!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )