From time to time we do receive very kind and flattering e-mails, praising
our easy-going, entertaining text presentations. Thank you! But nevertheless
we are quite aware of the restrictions which are a consequence of this shorthand style,
in a mixture with irony and lack of scientific seriousness.
Just keep in mind that the famous 20th century tardiologist Ernst Marcus condensed
his understanding of tardigrade cryptobiosis in 12 (!) full pages.
As a consequence our intellectual level cannot be quite at par with those
splendid publications. Our only advantage being that Ernst Marcus was slightly wrong in so far
as he thought that tardigrades weren't photographable at all. That's the reason
why all his publications are illustrated by (excellent) drawings only.
Those among you who want more precise information should try to get their hands
on the more serious scientific literature. And in particular the books by Ernst Marcus
still can be recommended to everyone who is able to read in German language.
It is a pity that they have not been translated to English yet. Much of the wisdom packed in those
hundreds of densely filled pages is in danger to run into oblivion due to the language barrier.
Besides Erst Marcus sometimes is serving as a kind of rubstone for younger scientists
who try to critizise him - being well aware of the fact that he cannot hold up against
the attacks any more. So you might get some insights to scientists' psychology when
reading Ernst Marcus' books and comparing the contents to what is written about Ernst Marcus.
In any case it is quite a pleasure to follow his splendid discussion of cryptobiosis,
e.g. his line of thought why cryptobiosis is not triggered by drought but instead
by a lack of oxygen (see literature, as cited below, pages 178 to 190).
In contrast to Ernst Marcus' time we can make lots of photomicrographs without caring about
film and development costs. Given time we can collect thousands of tardigrade photographs
just by pressing the remote control of our digital microscope camera.
As a consequence it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of the
photographs and their content. But from time to time we are scrolling back through our photographs
and do note something that has not been shown in this magazine yet.
The first photograph of this type as shown below is depicting an eutardigrade water bear,
a few minutes after revival from the dry state, still hiding deeply in a cavity of
the moss jungle. It is well known that the tardigrades are using the moss plant walls
in a similar way as humans are using blankets. Presumably this has not only the advantage
of a more agreable and relaxed desiccation process but it will as well serve as a protection
against raptor enemies in the "other" world, the dry world: whereas the tardigrade
cannot move and defend itself in the dry state, many other organisms are quite active in
this dry state world, thus might consider to devour dry state tardigrades (like
The habitus of the revived tardigrades looks a little bit like a scenery from
"Jurassic Park", doesn't it? But agreed, the tardigrades are definitely
a little bit smaller.