Friday, September 12, 2014

The Coolest Creature On Earth...

Last time I talked about the Wood Frog which could be frozen alive and reanimated when temperatures warmed up. Today I am going to talk about a critter that is cooler than that. By far the coolest creature on earth.

The tardigrade is like no other creature on earth.

First of all, it's so small that it's very difficult to see without a microscope. It's only half of a millimeter in length when fully grown. And for those of you who are not smart enough to know how small half of a millimeter is, it's about 1/50th of an inch.

Secondly, they look like nothing you've seen. They have 8 legs, some have eyes, and some don't and just have a mouth at the front of their head.

Thirdly, they can survive just about anything you throw at them.  They can survive being boiled alive for several minutes at temperatures of 150 celsius/300 fahrenheit, and they can be cooled down to below -458 degrees fahrenheit / -272 celsius. That's a single degree above ABSOLUTE ZERO. If you're not familiar with "absolute zero" that is the temperature where every single molecule stops vibrating and absolutely no thermodynamic energy exists anymore.

Fourthly, they can survive the empty vacuum of space and have been known to exist a 10 day trip to outer space on the shell of the space shuttle. They can also survive the pressure of 6,000 atmospheres. Even if you took them to the deepest trench in the ocean they could still go 6 times deeper.

Fifthly, they can dehydrate themselves into tardigrade jerky to the point of having only 3% water left in its body (beef jerky on average has 15% moisture level). Then after a decade or so of hibernation they can just rehydrate themselves and go back to business as usual. There has even been samples taken from Egyptian mummy samples that have been rehydrated after 1000 years.

Sixthly, they can survive 1000 times the radiation of other animals on earth. So don't count on them being in any up coming mutant comic book characters. They can survive levels of 5,000 Gy levels of Gamma Rays.  A human would kick the bucket with just 5-10 Gy levels.

And Lastlyyyy.... They have survived all 5 of the major extinctions of species on earth.

And THAT is why they are the coolest creatures on earth.


  1. Where are they so I don't step on one?

    1. They are in mosses and in the water. They are all over the place. You most likely step on them all the time. But there's no way you could ever crush or kill one. so step away