Stuffed Tardigrades from the Cal Academy Store!

In my department, we just found out that we carry these adorable mini-plushie tardigrades (water bears) in our store.  A bunch of us immediately ran down and bought out the sets that were on display, which confused the store clerks. "We've been carrying these for months," one of them explained.

WaterbearTardigrades are of course much, much tinier in person. About .5 mm. Normally found on lichen or moss, they are classified as "extremeophiles" for their extreme durability under conditions that would kill almost any other living creature, including in outer space!  They are also extremely weird looking, as you can see.

Our head of research, Dr. Meg Lowman, shares my special fondness for tardigrades. She actually has a much larger plushie tardigrade that I must admit I'm quite envious of.  

Everyone who walks by my desk can't help but stop and pick up or play with the pile of tardigrades we have on display.  Sometimes science is full of "skwee!"

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