Know all about the Tardigrade, the tiny but nearly immortal species

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Tardigrade

The tiny eight-legged microbes called Tardigrade can possibly live for another 10 billion years, according to the Oxford university. They are supposedly the only species on earth that can exist even after the sun dies. Owing to their extremely tough and resilient nature, the microbes are often referred to as the world’s most indestructible species.

These miraculous beings, less than 1 millimetre long, can survive for over 30 years without food and water at temperatures as low as -20 °C and can withstand temperatures over 151 °C for a few minutes. Even pressures 6,000 times that of the atmosphere and radiation thousands times stronger than what would be fatal for humans are not a problem for these steely microbes. In 2007, the Tardigrades became the first organisms to survive exposure to space.

Interestingly, this can only happen once they undergo a process called cryptobiosis where they molt their skin, reduce metabolic activity and lose most of their water. Otherwise, the water bears typically have a lifespan lasting a couple of months. Funnily enough, digestive enzymes are no match for the microbe. Ingestion by any organism can lead to its death.