No, this post is not about polar bears or Alaskan brown bears, even though they do spend a great deal of time in the water. This post is about the tiny anthropods known as “Tartigrades” that are found in waters around the Earth, including those that are freezing and those that are quite warm.
Doesn’t really matter to Tardigrades what kind of environment they are in because they possess an absolutely unique ability to survive in virtually any environment, including, according to scientists at the University of California Sand Diego (UCSD), everything “from dangerously high radiation levels to chillingly low temperatures to exposure to deadly chemicals. They’ve even been launched into space as part of a project to transfer life forms to the moon (and crash-landed there with the Beresheet lander spacecraft earlier this year).”
So why should anybody working for a U.S. senator, representative or congressional committee give a flip about these extraordinary little creatures that have eight legs, each festooned with something like claws and faces with no eyes?
The answer is they pose a question that advocates of macro-evolution may not be able to answer persuasively: A basic evolutionary maxim is that creatures develop and retain characteristics that help them survive, but how could water bears have developed characteristics to survive conditions they’ve never experienced such as outer space?
I’m a journalist, not a biologist or geneticist, so I claim no particular expertise on this question. But one of my goals with HillFaith is to point out to congressional staffers issues, materials and questions to increase their awareness of significant developments outside our typical silos of knowledge and experience.
So to that end, check out the UCSD story linked above, then spend some time with the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News’ treatment of the UCSC findings and how they relate to multiple aspects of recent research in a wide range of scientific fields.
And just as a foretaste of what readers will encounter in the latter, check out these two graphs:
“Another word for preadaptation is foresight. In evolutionary theory, preadaptation makes no sense, because Darwinian evolution, which only reacts to the immediate environment, has no foresight.