The Tardigrade ruins have a “remarkable” walk

The Tardigrade ruins have a “remarkable” walk

In a study of tardigrades, scientists were able to see how far these animals roamed. On some surfaces, they do not walk: they run.

Tardigrades are undoubtedly attractive creatures. First, because they are “terrorists”. Partially thank you in any way A kind of armor, They are radiation, the most destructive products or Effect of thousands of kilometers per hour. Extreme temperatures can be a factor in their survival, ranging from almost zero to 150 degrees. In the emptiness of space, it is the same: they resist. Without being immortal, they are more indestructible than the vast majority of creatures.

For this reason, many scientists are looking at these tiny creatures that are no larger than 0.1 to 1 millimeter in size. This is what causes an AI Research Published in the Journal of August 31, 2021 PNAS. ⁇ Tardigrades, perhaps the only soft-bodied animal known as the short-legged animal, have a set of locomotor tools of unique diversity. », The research team explains.

But why is the way the Tardigrades behave so special?

The “remarkable” approach of the Tardigrades

First of all, you should see a Tardigrade walk – “wandering”, we might say. Here are the pictures taken by the research team under the microscope:

3mm walk, wear it! // Source: Lisette Duran / PNAS

Scientists have made accurate observations, especially if you feel that Tardigrade walking is “perfect”. Jasmine Nirodi, one of the authors of the study, told Twitter: One of the most interesting things – at first surprising – was how good the Tardigrades were about walking … and the best of them. They have a normal gait, which is remarkable as a very large animal!

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Their gait is particularly close to that of some insects and arthropods, and animals with large, rigid skeletons do not walk underwater (in these two cases, unlike tardigrades).

A Tardigrade walk. // Source: Nirodi et al. / PNAS

During the study, the scientists “did not have to” force the toddlers to do anything: they observed their movements on different surfaces. Tardigrades find it difficult to move around on very smooth surfaces such as glass (but we do not lead much on ice), and what emerges from the study is the motor adaptation to their environment. Scientists write that while walking on soft bases – liquid, grain … – to move more efficiently, the Tardigrades adjust their locomotion to a “galloping” coordination pattern (yes, they “gallop”).

In short, the Tardigrades are excellent walkers. This is not without a scientific explanation: ” This makes sense: we know that Tardigrades are everywhere – but in order for them to survive in all these places, they have to wander around a bunch of different landscapes to find mates, not just to eat. , Jasmine Nirodi explains.

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