Loyal Readers™ will no doubt recall that it was exactly one year ago today that we sent our research proposal to tardigrade expert Professor Bob Goldstein at his lab at UNC, requesting his urgent assistance in confirming my paradigm-shattering theory that if I consume enough of them, then I will become a virtually immortal extremophile like the tardigrades:
Dear Professor Goldstein:
I am a New York City-based columnist and blogger who usually writes about sex (I’m for it!) as well as politics and religion (I’m against ’em!), and who finds herself weirdly enamored with tardigrades. I also write to promote science, skepticism, and the sheer transcendent joy to be found in discovering the wonders of the natural world. To that end I maintain a virtual zoo on my personal blog, in which I have a tardigrade specimen named Schnoot.
If I sound like a kook so far, well you’re probably right but I hope you will bear(!) with me.
Professor Goldstein, have you ever eaten tardigrades?
What do they taste like?
Do you have any good recipes?
What wine pairing would you recommend?
Are you now immortal?
Are they poisonous or otherwise dangerous to eat?
Would you recommend that I cook them (over 303 degrees F of course!) before I eat them, or do you think I have to eat them live in order to become immortal?
With many thanks and kind regards,
-Iris Vander Pluym
Inexplicably, as of this writing we still have not received a reply from Professor Goldstein. It’s like he doesn’t even want to share the Nobel prize with us. ?
Scnoot, Palace Zoo resident tardigrade.
But in a spectacular “coincidence” that can only be a sign to us from the Tardigrade Goddess herself, the American Museum of Natural History’s Life at the Limits exhibition opens today, featuring—you guessed it—tardigrades!
I feel quite optimistic that unlike that big meanie Professor Goldstein, the exhibition’s curators Mark Siddall and John Sparks will feel honored and humbled to participate in the Palace’s important work on obtaining immortal extremophile superpowers for myself. Now I don’t want to blow their minds with too much too fast, so please keep this to yourself: I am also working on a rather promising inquiry into the youth-regenerating properties of axolotls. Two of these amazing neotenic creatures currently reside in the Amphibian wing of the Palace Zoo; unfortunately, I cannot in good conscience eat them as they are a critically endangered species. That’s where my new BFFs Mark Siddall and John Sparks come in: to help me establish a wild breeding population on the Palace grounds.
Because SCIENCE, motherfuckers.
[h/t Mr. Born]