there’s an ever-present meme that says after the Final Tragedy, the cockroaches will inherit the earth. mythbusters busted that one for us a while back, showing that several other bugs are even better at shrugging off radiation than the roach. and now, a new study about water bears says those lil guys might actually be the ones to plant their tiny flags on the post-apocalyptic slag pile. they’ve already been known to survive harsher environments than most any other creature living on the planet; now we know they can live in the non-life of outer space, too. bonus: they’re infinitely cuter than roaches:
squeeeeee!!!! look at the little clawed feet!!
last week, i finished up a book called “after man“, which was an imagined autobon’s guide to the fauna of an earth 50 million years after the extinction of human beings. it had some good ideas, and some silly ones, about existing species evolving along to fill in vacated ecological niches. now i’ll have to contemplate how the tardigrades could take over the positions currently held by (as one zoo vet charmingly put it) the ‘charismatic megavertebrates’…