Who doesn’t love a tardigrade? These pint-sized organisms have a million reasons to make you love them. They’re the perfect balance of totally invincible and totally adorable. They’re just like puppies, if puppies were super tiny and could live literally forever.
They’re also known as water bears, space bears, and moss piglets
Well, those names are way too adorable. They’ve been compared to bears and piglets because of their rounded bodies and their slow, loping walks. They look a little like insects close up, but they’re more closely related to worms (so, technically, not an animal).
They can live without food or water for more than 30 years
Scientists recently thawed out a tardigrade that’s been completely frozen for 30 years. They rehydrated the little guy, and he started wriggling and crawling around like a spring chicken.
They can survive the vacuum of space
Astronautical scientists like to release living things into the terrifying vacuum of space to see how they react. Things usually die, quickly and terribly. But when they released a bunch of water bears into the vacuum of space, they survived. Obviously. And now they call them space bears.
They’re immune to radiation
In the event of nuclear holocaust, the two number one survivors will certainly be cockroaches and tardigrades. Our new favorite creature has been found to produce a protein that protects its DNA from damage from radiation.
They’ve already survived the 5 major extinction events
Earth has undergone 5 major extinction events, the kind of apocalyptic happenings that wipe out most species. Tardigrades have powered on through like it’s a walk in the park. They scoffed at the dinosaurs, and scientists say they’re sure to outlast humans, too. The sun will have to explode for the moss piglets to feel a threat, and that’s not supposed to happen for at least 10 billion years.