Episode 51


Dr. Frank Smith

Jul 27, 2021 | Science

In this episode, we talk all about Tardigrades, where to find them, how they’ve evolved, and more!

Listen on Spotify
Tardigrades are a whole phylum of animals. We say there might be 3000 to 5000 species. That's actually a lot for a phylum of animals! They're very diverse.  So, when you learn something about Tardigrades, for example, how a species uses its legs, that story might not work for other species. A different species might use its legs differently, which is interesting to investigate.

About This Episode

How did Tardigrades evolve? Where can we find them? Are there Tardigrades in Space? All this, and more, with Biologist Dr. Frank Smith!

Topics and Timestamps

  • (0:00:55) Tardigrades in concrete.
  • (0:01:35) Finding tardigrades: Moss, leaf litter and lichens.
  • (0:02:50) Marine tardigrades: The contraption and process for collection.
  • (0:05:54) Cryptobiosis and marine tardigrades.
  • (0:06:53) The study of land tardigrades vs marine tardigrades.
  • (0:08:16) Studying the diversity of tardigrades: The tardigrade meeting.
  • (0:09:16) Tardigrades in concrete: A lack of literature and study.
  • (0:09:55) Reinhart Christensen: Echiniscus Bigranualatist.
  • (0:12:01) Solving mysteries that pre-date the fossil record.
  • (0:13:33) Tardigrade fossils.
  • (0:16:11) Evolution of tardigrades: A big discovery.
  • (0:20:13) Arthropods vs Tardigrades: Does the trunk make a difference?
  • (0:21:53) Tardigrade’s hind legs: Do they serve a purpose?
  • (0:24:25) Tardigrades: An entire diverse phylum.
  • (0:25:21) Do all tardigrades have eight legs and why did they develop this way?
  • (0:29:39) Losing the ability to evolve: Is that why tardigrades are so tough?
  • (0:32:06) Tardigrades vs Rotifers: Comparative studies.
  • (0:32:55) Simplicity can be better: Losing body parts in evolution.
  • (0:34:40) Tardigrade guts and how they work and eat.
  • (0:37:52) The evolution of a tardigrade’s guts: Comparisons to other animals.
  • (0:41:40) Mapping the tardigrade genome.
  • (0:43:24) Editing the genomes in tardigrades: Is it possible?
  • (0:45:09) Tardigrades in space.
  • (0:47:34) Tardigrades on the moon: The experiment.
  • (0:48:33) A new puppy, dog parks and the DNA test.
  • (0:50:11) NBA playoffs, basketball and music.
  • (0:51:20) The similarities between artists and scientists.
  • (0:54:45) Tardigrade society meetings.

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