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We do have a small jubilee, issue #25.

There has been an increasing number of tv reports and magazine articles about water bears within the last few years. Even this small website has been spotted by some newspapers, magazines and movie publishers from all over the world.

article by Julien Perrot, in French language
in the Swiss magazine "La Salamandre", issue August/September 2001.

article by Andrea Dee, in German language
referring to our website.
Published in the Austrian newspaper "Standard".
Weekend issue March 31 / April 1, 2001.

However, there are still many, many people who do not believe that water bears are actually existing. From time to time we receive complaints by pupils that they had been mentioning water bears at school and as a consequence were laughed at by their class-mates and even by their biology teacher (!).

In order to illustrate the problem how to explain water bears to the rest of the world we have worked out a typical scenario. You might experiment a little bit and test it on your neighbour:



Your neighbour

"By the way, did you know that many thousands of those tiny, intelligent water bears live within your garden?"

"Just move a little bit out of the sun. This will help your brain in order to recover from the heatstroke."

"Please, just go inside your house for a moment and check it out yourself! I remember to have seen this fascinating new dictionary CD on your desk recently."

after some time installation time ...

"There is in fact an entry in the dictionary about some 'worm-like' water bear creatures. But, in order to see the picture I would have to update for the full version ...
a really criminal update policy, I will complain there."

"Look! This is a reproduction of the first drawing of a water bear, made by a German pastor in the 18th century."

"You see, I am not that religious. And this very dark picture seems to have been published near the end of the abyss of the Middle Ages, when people believed in witches and all kinds of demons."

"There are so many water bear images on the web.
You will find hundreds of photographs of them there, like this one."

"This is by no means a proof. You will find images of E.T. and of Harry Potter there, too. And all those dino park creatures have been made just by digital imaging."

"I have seen scientific papers about water bears and even whole books by scientists."

"Forget scientists.
19th century scienstists have 'proven' as well that the construction of an airplane is impossible."

"We might go out together, collect some moss samples and look at them under my microscope. This would take us only half an hour."

"O.k., I do believe you. You know, there is a Latin proverb: Credo quia absurdum (I believe it because it sounds completely absurd)
and, frankly speaking, I would prefer not to miss the sports now."

"And they have eight legs, eyes, a brain and smooth muscle control! "

(the neighbour has left the scene)


As you will notice it is fairly easy to convince almost anybody of the existence of tardigrades.

Literature (title pages shown):

Ian M. Kinchin. The biology of tardigrades. London 1994.
Walter Maucci: Tardigrada. Bologna 1986 (in Italian language).

© Text, images and video clips by  Martin Mach  (webmaster@baertierchen.de).
Water Bear web base is a licensed and revised version of the German language monthly magazine  Bärtierchen-Journal . Style and grammar amendments by native speakers are warmly welcomed.

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