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Adorable Tardigrades Are Microscopic, Invincible “Water Bears”


By Siddarth Subramaniam

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They are not affected by radioactivity. They can be frozen for decades, unfrozen, and give birth to healthy offspring. They can be found in “bubbling hot springs, Antarctic ice, deep sea trenches, and the Himalayan mountaintops,” as stated in the New York Times.

 

Also, at times, they are called “water bears.” Adorable, right?

 

Enter the tardigrade.

 

via Giphy

 

A recent rockstar of the scientific community, these microscopic organisms have been under the lens due to their crazy life preservation skills. If the environment gets a bit too uncomfortable for their liking, they roll up and relax in stasis, withstanding obscene amounts of pressure and heat. Additionally, Swedish researchers from Kristianstad University have launched the little guys into space, finding their ability to survive UV radiation and cosmic rays is unmatched by any other living organism on this planet.

 

via Tumblr

 

The fascination regarding these organisms, or “champions of toughness” as The Atlantic dubbed them, is in the observation that life can potentially survive in the reaches of outer space, leading to many new discussions and theories being brought out.

 

via Giphy

 

Further research could yield a wealth of information about evolutionary biology and life beyond the expanse of our own planet, our little “water bears” being as cute (frightening to some), as they are resourceful.

 

 

Read more information about our little friends here.