Tag Archives: tardigrade

Have you heard about the “tun effect?” Because you’re a German and the word is derived from German and conceived by a German scientist who observed in 1922 a tardigrade or “water bear” creature of an extreme micro size which inhabits soil and mosses. Tardigrades are ancient creatures older than most lifeforms. The “tun effect” is their ability to dessicate or dry their bodies by withdrawing into themselves in order to survive lack of water. But remarkably, they reanimate in the presence of it.

Tardigrades are fascinating lifeforms! I didn’t know it was discovered by a German, nor that their ability with water is called the Tun effect. (I had thought that the name was still available, such that perhaps one day a phenomenon might be named after me – something academic, I always imagined. Oh well. I already share my name with an extremely common verb so I’m used to it.) I am constantly truly astonished and inspired by the variety of life on earth.

On another note, you may be surprised to know that I’m not actually a German. My name looks and sounds like a German word, and I live in Berlin, but that’s the full extent of it. I’m actually a born a bred Brit to the core, as English as afternoon tea. As to my ethnic heritage that’s yet another source of mystery to those who can only rely on guesswork.