The Strangest Animals You've Never Heard Of

The Strangest Animals You've Never Heard Of

We bet that most of you do not know what a tardigrade is.

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Don’t let their appearance and length of 0.5 mm (0.02 in) catch you off guard: these animals are the most resilient animals on earth.

They can survive quite literally in any kind of environment.

1. Without water, a human can only survive for around a few days, but a tardigrade can survive for multiple decades through a process called anhydrobiosis.

2. Tardigrades are proven to be both thermophiles and cryophiles — meaning they can perfectly thrive in the hottest and coldest of temperatures. This includes:

A. Being heated up past the boiling point of water (100°C)

B. Being frozen in ice.

3. Tardigrades are proven to be able to withstand high levels of radiation without any harm, despite its harmful effects towards living creatures.

4. Tardigrades are the first known animal that can survive the vacuum of outer space, where there is no oxygen. Perhaps not having lungs helps.

5. Tardigrades are able to withstand pressures of over 6000 atmospheres — 6 times that of the Mariana Trench, the deepest oceanic trench on Earth.

6. Tardigrades are one of the few animals apart from humans that live just about everywhere, across all continents — including Antarctica.

7. Tardigrades have outlived the dinosaurs, and will likely outlive humans too


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Fun facts:

1. These feats have led to some erroneous speculation that tardigrades are actually extraterrestrial beings.

2. However, scientific evidence firmly places their origin on earth, where they’ve evolved

Who knows how tardigrades might benefit humanity’s scientific advancement?

Perhaps we might be able to develop some stress-tolerant species of crop that can cope with the Earth’s changing climate?

Could we find out ways to determine the true limitations of life? Can we increase the maximum resilience?

Could we use the tardigrade’s way of stabilizing sensitive biological molecules and apply this knowledge to stabilizing vaccines?

Could tardigrades be an example of how we might be able to re-locate to other planets that much less hospitable than on Earth?


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