Water bears, also known as tardigracles, are microscopic animals that were first found and named by a German pastor/Zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goere in 1773. It became an official animal in 1777 after it was seen again by Lazzaro Spallanzani a biologist/ physiologist.
The name water bears the name comes from two things. One is very obvious – the water part – because they live in moist places like moss. The other is because their legs have no joints. It forces them to walk like fat bears.
This tiny animal can survive in super extreme conditions such as 6000 atmospheres or the vacuum of space. Water bears can go into cryptobiosis, a hibernation-like state that is probably closer to your body killing you until where you are is hospitable enough for life. But the water bear is able to turn this reaction on and off.
The nervous system of the water bear is completely different from our own because of their nerve clumps that are a the top of each leg. These clumps are responsible for movement and feeling. The water bear takes in oxygen through the plasma membrane and spreads it through its cells.
Although these small animals are so fascinating, they are virtually unknown. Even though they live all over the world, a wide variety can be found in your back yard.