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Archaic gaming - a not-so-seriously-meant human projection

Tardigrades are among those few microscopic animals that challenge human projection. You will find many nice examples of the emotion-driven tardigrade approach in internet forums, magazines and even books. We are going to present a few selected quotations for you:

"When I have children, I'll definitely be calling them moss bears."

"If tardigrade worship is wrong, I don't wonna be right."

"I have fallen in love with this unique creature, tardigrade, Karkunhainen, as we say in Finland."

"Your stimulating page about water bears inspired me to get lyrical about these excellent creatures."

But, of course, on the opposite side of the spectrum, there exist people who argue that this kind of funny devotion cannot be tolerated and that it must be corrected towards a more sober, scholarly and "scientific" tardigrade assessment. Furthermore, they believe that the tardigrades are simply being over-estimated.

"Beginners can skip this chapter [annotation: the complete tardigrade chapter]."

"... Frequently found in the more obscure journals, they are occasionally the subject of somewhat dubious reports ..."

"They [the tardigrades] belong to an exclusive group which is worshipped, in a slightly irrational manner, by some enthusiasts.

We think that both opinions have their pros and cons, that we should be open to each of them or perhaps adopt some kind of trade-off position like those offered by further sources:

"... it does look ridiculously like a bear."

"Really odd characters can be found among them."

"Strange is this little animal, because of its exceptional and strange morphology
and because it closely resembles a bear en miniature.
That is the reason why I decided to call it little water bear."

You know, in Europe soccer championships have a rather pronounced tendency to temporarily transform everyday people into soccer centered "tunnel thinkers". When adopting this angle of view with all the soccer events in the brain one might interprete some of our photomicrographs in a rather unusual, soccer biased manner.
For example, when coming across water bears which seem to be tremendously interested in globular objects like Nostoc and Volvox algae:

[ tardigrade playing (?) with alga ]

Tardigrade Adorybiotus coronifer on alga.

The tardigrades clinge to the globular algae, move on them and thus cause some kind of rotation that definitely looks like playing with a ball. From time to time they pause, seemingly sniffing the scents from the surface of the "ball":

[ tardigrade playing (?) with alga ]

Tardigrade Adorybiotus coronifer on alga.

From this point it is not very far to the next step of our projection. Once we have accepted that the tardigrades love those globular objects we can assume that a group of several tardigrades might compete for them as well. A fitting photomicrograph is at hand quickly:

[ tardigrades and alga ]

Tardigrades and globular alga.

The dynamics of the scenario become more evident at slow photo shutter speeds:

[   ]

Tardigrades and globular alga.

Who will now dare to question the interpretation of the next image which is clearly documenting the competition between a heavily pigmented "Latin lover" tardigrade and a poorly pigmented, rather pale "northern tardigrade"?   ;-)

[ tardigrades and alga ]

Tardigrade Ramazottius oberhaeuseri  (left), tardigrade Adorybiotus coronifer  (right) and globular alga

Don't worry. Soccer addiction is a kind of temporary mental defect. We will recover from it and will return to a more sober style in the next issue.

Literature and internet resources

The sources of our quotations can be found at  Zitat des Monats (in German only, sorry) .

© 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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