The Indestructible Tardigrade

Maria Roque, Contributor

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A tardigrade is a a tiny, microscopic animal that can be found just about anywhere; mountaintops, the deep sea, mud volcanoes, tropical rain forests, you think of an environment and the tardigrade can probably be found there. They are about 0.5 mm (0.002 in) long when they are fully grown and are short and plump with four pairs of legs each ending with claws.

So what makes them claim the name of ‘indestructible’? Well these tiny creatures are known to be able to survive in temperatures as cold as -459 degrees Fahrenheit and as hot as 304 degrees Fahrenheit. To put into perspective, humans can only last in 140 degree F heat and anything lower than 70 degrees F for so long before they start shutting down and possibly die. They can also survive radiation doses of 5,000 to 6,000 grays, humans can only take as much as 5. One of the craziest and inhumanely impossible things that these little water bears can do is survive 10 years without water! Humans could never.

These are incredible little creatures that many don’t know about. They deserve a little recognition here and there. Especially since they might just live out us humans, including the sun! So watch your step! For you might just be stepping on the indestructible tardigrade.

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