Biologist Bob Goldstein Talks Tardigrades

Posted on March 23, 2013

Bob Goldstein, a biologist at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, talks about tardigrades (also known as water bears or moss piglets) in this video from Science Friday, a weekly science talk show that airs on NPR's Talk of the Nation. Tartigrades can survive boiling, freezing, desiccation, radiation and the vacuum of space. Many of the nearly indestructible creatures even survived a trip on a spacecraft in low-Earth orbit, resisting radiation and the vacuum of space.

Current Biology says, "Tardigrades, commonly known as water-bears, are among the most desiccation and radiation-tolerant animals and have been shown to survive extreme levels of ionizing radiation." They are the only animal that have survived combined exposure to space vacuum and solar radiation.

Tardigrades can put themselves in an extreme hibernation state, known as the "tun" state. Tardigrades have been completely dried out and then resurrected ten years later. They are not rare and can be found nearly everywhere on Earth, including your backyard. Take a look:

Goldstein's tardigrades lab can be found here. Another interesting video about tardigrades can be found here.

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