The Otherworldly Abilities of Tardigrades or Water Bears

Water bears or tardigrades have been around for about 500 million years. Their roots can be traced back to the Cambrian period(540-489 milli...

The Otherworldly Abilities of Tardigrades or Water Bears

Water bears or tardigrades have been around for about 500 million years. Their roots can be traced back to the Cambrian period(540-489 million years ago). Their appearance is reminiscent to creatures we watch on science fiction films. Surprisingly, their appearance isn't the only sci-fi worthy about them, their extreme resilience to extreme heat,ability to survive without oxygen/water and their ability to travel and survive at outer space shocked many biologists.

Who Discovered These Creatures?

The Otherworldly Abilities of Tardigrades or Water Bears

These creatures are extremely small, the average size of a water bear is 0.5mm. Simply put, we can only observe their behavior using microscopes. Their size hid their existence for the most of human history, with the invention of microscope, they are discovered by the German pastor and zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773(same year of the infamous Boston Tea Party). 

The Otherworldly Abilities of Water Bears

The Otherworldly Abilities of Tardigrades or Water Bears

Water bears are known for their adaptation and versatility in living at different environments or ecosystems.They can live from the driest zones to the coldest regions in our planet. In September 2007, water bears are sent to space through the FOTON-M3 spacecraft. Conditions in outer space such as the deadly vacuum, and extreme UV radiation would kill most organisms, but water bears cheated death after surviving cosmic rays and the lack of oxygen. The test nearly 10 years ago only cemented their reputation as extremophiles; and as the first animal to survive in space vacuum. 

The Otherworldly Abilities of Tardigrades or Water Bears

Their otherworldly abilities such as surviving at highly volatile environments,places with high toxicity levels and atmospheric pressure led to some people to believe that they might be aliens. A research was conducted by University of North Carolina and it ended with a shocking conclusion;A huge chunk of a tardigrade’s genome comes from foreign DNA. This foreign DNA might hold the secret of the water bear's  otherworldly abilities.
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