Is It Possible to Classify the Tardigrade From Star Trek: Discovery?

(“Star Trek Tardigrade Figure (Ripper).” Eaglemoss, Accessed 28 January 2021). Unfortunately, the webpage no longer works. It seems that this page was taken down from the website.

Regardless of whether or not one likes DIS, it was interesting to see a giant Tardigrade. This fact got me interested in learning a bit more about Tardigrades; for instance, Tardigrades are distantly related to Trilobites, Hallucinogenia, Anomalocaris, and other Dinocarids. I also had no idea that there were armored Tardigrades, or the class Heterotardigrada. When I looked at “Ripper” from DIS, it definitely has armor, so it could be placed in the class Heterotardigrada. However, I cannot place “Ripper” beyond this point; I am not an expert on Tardigrades. I appreciate any and all comments in advance.


In Season 1 they show an X-ray and it clearly has an endoskeleton:

So it’s no tardigrade in our Earth sense, it’s a many-legged vertebrate!


Ha! Then it must be completely independent convergent evolution of the tardigrade form. Perhaps given enough time, all life converges to look like a tardigrade (since it is clearly the apex of evolution).


Assuming that said endoskeleton is an extremely derived trait that evolved independently within the Tardigrade lineage, is it possible it would be distinct enough to represent a separate class altogether, or more likely to be a grouping within Heterotardigrada?


Interesting question. Stemming from this one, I wonder, has anybody tried to identify all animals used to create the Alien? I have identified one, so far.


Animalia is monophyletic, and since it’s not from Earth it’s clearly not an animal. Ditto with fungi and plants. It clearly doesn’t belong to either of the single-celled lineages, so it’s a brand new domain of life.

If we assume it is an Earth animal, it’s a hexapod with an internal skeleton, so probably phylum Chordata, either a new class in subphylum Vertebrata or a new subphylum.

If it evolved the endoskeleton within the tardigrade lineage then … it’s a tardigrade. All descendants of an organism are part of the same monophyletic clades as that organism, and in this case will be phylum Tardigrada. It’d probably be a new class: given all the fundamental changes it’s undergone, I doubt we could demonstrate that it hasn’t secondarily lost a pair of limbs without genetic analysis.

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The crabs would like a word with you.


Why do things keep turning into crabs-- a video


We are forced to conclude that evolution is a … carcin-o-gen.


Do you mean this one?

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Yeah, this one is nice, though not exactly THE. What I meant was (female) for the early hatched stage. But you need to see it moving.

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This is the content I come here for :wink:

Live long and prosper :vulcan_salute:


Except hexapods have six legs; tardigrades, and this specimen, all have eight legs (it is more evident in the endoskeleton). Other than that, great reply!

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