The Arthropod That Doesn’t Have A Body

A certain arthropod known as tardigrade has been around for hundreds of millions of years. It seems that this creature has evolved into an organism that possesses a single head as its sole feature, not including its many tiny legs.

For years researchers have been trying to identify which family of arthropod the tardigrade is most closely related. This has been a difficult task since the creature seems to be missing its entire midsection. The thorax as well as the abdomen are absent in this tiny creature. The creature also does not possess any HOX genes, which are genes that facilitate the growth of an animal’s midsection among other body parts.

Now researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill believe that the tardigrade is a “degenerate” creature. Meaning over the course of tardigrade evolution, the creature progressively lost all of its body parts because it is presumably more convenient to carry as little as possible. Despite this particular bugs freakish appearance, the tardigrade, or “water bear,” is one of the most durable and resilient creatures known to mankind.

Have you ever seen an animal that looked like other animals only it was missing key physical features, such as limbs, etc.?