This Is A Water Bear - The Most EXTREME Animal In The World. They Can Survive ANYTHING

October 17, 2016

This is a Tardigrade or "Water Bear", a tiny creature that can survive nearly anything: temperatures as low as 1 K, insane amounts of radiation, the vacuum of outer space, 30 years without food or water... you name it.

Even more amazing than all the extremes Tardigrades can survive is how they do it.

Essentially, they have to have some time with worsening conditions which prompts them to form a cyst stadium of themselves. They expel 99% of the water their body and all measurable biological activity ceases.

Of course, that in itself is not so terribly impressive - we call this process by its more familiar term - "dying" - only Tardigrades can then get better.

It is called Anabiosis or Kryptobiosis. In this stadium, they can indeed be exposed to ridiculous extremes and not give a toss. Afterward you put them in a dish with a little bit of water and a little while later they start getting active again.

water bear

One more remarkable thing: They elude zoologist's attempts at securely placing them on the evolutionary tree of life. Most place them near the arthropods but there is uncertainty.

Maybe they're aliens, who knows.

Watch this video on Tardigrades to learn more about the first animal to survive space:

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