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Small but tough: the Tardigrades

Remains of the tiny organisms known as Tardigrades were discovered in a subglacial Antarctic lake. The organisms whose size is between 0.1 and 1.5 mm, are often referred to as water bears or moose pig. The remains were found when scientists bored a kilometer under the ice; So far, only microbes have been found under these extreme conditions.


Tardigrades, which occur in many habitats, can survive under other difficult conditions. Research in the journal Molecular Cell describes how they wrap in glass-like proteins under dry conditions (vitrification). Once dehydrated, they only have to rehydrate a few decades later, and they live again.


The coma-type state Tardigrades enter into desiccation and are termed endurance in cryptobiosis. In his book The Hidden Forces of Animals, Dr. Karl Shuker not only frozen cryptobiotic tardigrades in liquid helium at -272C (one degree above absolute zero), but also heated them above 1

49C. In both cases, the Tardigrades were rehydrated and lived.


In 2007, Tardigrades were the first creatures to survive space exposure. They were faced with minus temperatures, solar wind and days of vacuum, where humans would take at most minutes. The discovery brought the species a place in the Endeavor mission of 2011; The project was called TARDIKISS (Tardigrades in Space).

Global Apocalypse

A joint study by space researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Harvard in 2017 revealed that Tardigrades would survive astronomical events – major effects of asteroids, gamma-ray explosions, supernova blasts – destroying the human Lead life. "[Tardigrades] make global sterilization an unlikely event," the newspaper concluded.

Published in the Daily Times, January 28 th 2019 .

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