February 24, 2003 12:40 PM Subscribe
Strange is this little animal, because of its exceptional and strange morphology and because it closely resembles a bear en miniature. -- So says one of the first men to behold "water bears" or tardigrades as they are better known. Resembling a large gummy bear, or a bear walking on its claws, but measuring in at no larger than a few 100 microns, the tardigrade occupies its own phylum in the animal kingdom. Cuteness aside, they are also known for their extraordinary abilities to survive extreme conditions: Tardigrades can survive the process of freezing or thawing, as well as changes in salinity, extreme vacuum pressure conditions, and a lack of oxygen.
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