Tardigrades : Toughest Animal On Earth.

Hey Guys

You probably heard about "Tardigrades". And if you don't, you should know! about the toughest animal on earth.

Which can endure extreme environmental conditions. From extreme cold to scorching heat, and from high level of radiation to nearly perfect vacuum in outer space.

But First,

What Are Tardigrades?

What Are Tardigrades?

Tardigrades are strange-looking, slow-moving microscopic creators.

They are semi-translucent, segmented like caterpillars. 

Tardigrades have eight limbs with claws at the end of the each one.

They are also called by the name of “moss piglets” and “water bears,” and they're found almost everywhere on our planet.

Where Tardigrades Found?

Where Tardigrades Found?

Some Tardigrades live completely in water, while others Tardigrades are terrestrial and exist in damp vegetation and soil.

How did they Live?

How did tardigrades Live?

Now, According to "Live Science", they suck the juices from lichens (they are a complex life form that is a symbiotic partnership of two separate organisms, a fungus and an algae), algae and moss,”. 

And also some species of Tardigrades are carnivores and even cannibals (are those who consuming another individual of the same species as food).”

What Makes Tardigrades So Special?

What Makes Tardigrades So Special?

Actually, it's their unusual survival skills, which we will discuss throughout this article.

What Makes Tardigrades Immortal?

What Makes Tardigrades Immortal?

You probably heard about Tadigrades are immortal. But in reality Tardigrades are not immortal in the sense that they live forever.

Actually, they can endure extreme environmental conditions that would kill many other animals or species on earth.

Now if we talk about terrestrial Tardigrades, then one common problem terrestrial Tardigrades experience is "Dehydration".

Tardigrades need at minimum a thin film of water to function. 

long-term absence of water is not a death for Tardigrades

But the long-term absence of water is not necessarily a death sentence for Tardigrades.

That on the other hand, is sure for humans, whitetail deer, and many other animals on earth.

Tardigrades can be revived after years of drought

Tardigrades can be revived after years of drought. By Just add water or dew and they are good as they before!

Also Tardigrades don’t easily freeze to death even in sub-zero temperatures.

Now, according to an American Scientist's article, Tardigrades have survived short-term freezing for 20 hrs at functional absolute zero Temprature or -459.3 °F (-272.95 °C)

And long-term survived for 20 months at -328°F (-200°C )

Red Flat Bark Beetle can survive in temperatures of -238°F (-150°C)

It can also tolerate temperatures, that are even cooler than the "Red Flat Bark Beetle" of Alaska. Which can survive in temperatures as low as -238°F (-150°C) according to a "Business Insider article".

But after this long period of time, Tardigrades can be thawed and revived in a short period of time.

And In addition, Tardigrades can withstand high temperatures also.

A American Scientist reports that, Tardigrades have lived after being “Exposed to 150° Celsius (302°F). This is far above the boiling point of water.

highest recorded temperature on Earth in California’s Death Valley in 1913.

Now, To give an idea of just how hot this is, Guinness Book of World Records states that the highest recorded temperature on Earth was 56.7 °C (134.1 °F), which recorded at California’s Death Valley in 1913.

And, This recorded temperature is less than the half of the scorching temperature the Tardigrades were exposed to.

The Toughness Test of Tardigrades.

The Toughness Test of Tardigrades

Now, If freezing and boiling weren’t enough to Tardigrades, scientists tested the toughness of the Tardigrades in many other extreme ways.

Tardigrades can withstand pressures of up to 87,000 pounds

Scientists tried to crush them with high pressure.

A article in "Live Science" reports that “Tardigrades can withstand pressures of up to 87,000 pounds per square inch (600 mega-pascals)This is six times what you’d experience at the bottom of the sea.”

And It also noted that “just half of this pressure would kill most other organisms on Earth.And One of those organisms would be humans also.

How Much Pressure Human Can Withstands?

human can withstand only about 1 atmosphere of pressure

Actually human can withstand only about 1 atmosphere of pressure, according to the "American Museum of Natural History".

This is equal to a measly pressure of 14.2 pounds per square inch.

Did Scientists Stop at This Level of Toughness Test?

Scientists hit the Tardigrades with high levels of X-rays, gamma rays, and other types of radiation

No! scientists didn't stop at this, they hit the Tardigrades with high levels of X-rays, gamma rays, and other types of radiation.

A article in "Mother Nature Network" reports that “researchers found some (Tardigrades or) water bears, can survive radiation doses upto 5,000 to 6,000 grays.

Actually, One "gray" is defined as the absorption of one joule of radiation energy per kilogram of matter.

And Once again, Tardigrades prevail where humans will easily fail. 

Humans will die after exposure to significantly low levels of radiation

In reality, We sicken and die after exposure to significantly low levels of radiation. Like through our cell towers or mobile phones.

0.7 grays of radiation for a human to being radiation sickness

According to the CDC, actually it takes only about 0.7 grays of radiation for a human to being radiation sickness under some certain conditions, and 10 grays is the LD 100 (lethal) dose that will kill 100%, of the exposed population.

But What About Space?

Tardigrades in space

Actually These tough tiny animals have also faced the final frontier – "Outer Space".

“Tardigrades in space”, may be it's sound like a title of a science fiction movie, but in reality it's happened in 2007.

Tadigrades in FOTON-M3 rocket

"Popular Mechanics" briefly described the Tardigrades’ off-planet experience: “A European team of researchers, sent a group of living Tardigrades to orbit the earth, on the outside of a "FOTON-M3" rocket for nearly 10 days”.

And, When the Tardigrades returned to Earth, the scientists found that, the 68% Tardigrades lived through the ordeal.

68% Tardigrades lived through the ordeal

Up to that conditions, no known species on Earth had accomplished such a feat.

vacuum, ionizing and solar UV radiation in space

Outer space as “the closest physical approximation of a perfect vacuum.

Actually, The very low pressure of outer space, suck out the air from animal's lungs.

And also, There are the dangers of ionizing radiation.

The open space conditions described by "Space.com", in an article are “Deadly levels of solar UV radiation, which are more than 1,000 times higher than on the surface of the our planet.”

And then, there is the extreme cold temperature in space. The temperature in outer space is -454 °F (-270°C).

But after these extreme conditions, Tardigrades is one and the only known species which would survive.

And that's the reason, why Tardigrades are nearly immortal.


If you knew something new from today's knowledge.

Let me know in the comment box.

Stay Curious, Stay Safe.

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