Tuesday , October 19 2021

Tiny but hard: tardigrats


Remnants of tiny organisms known as tardigrats have been discovered in a subglacial Antarctic lake. The creatures, that oscillate between 0.1 mm and 1.5 mm, often denominate bones of water or piglets of moss. The remains were found when scientists drilled a kilometer under the ice; Previously, only microbes have been found in these extreme conditions.


Autumn, present in many habitats, can survive in other difficult circumstances. Research in the Molecular Cell magazine describes how, in dry conditions, they are covered in proteins similar to glass (vitrification). After being soaked in this way, they only need to rehydrate, sometimes decades later, and they will live again.


The tardy common state that enters the desiccation is known as cryptobiosis and in them they have remarkable resistance powers. In his book The Hidden Powers of Animals, Dr. Karl Shuker claims that not only have Cryptobiotic tardies been frozen in liquid helium at -272C (a degree exceeding zero absolute): they have also warmed up in addition of 149C. In both cases, tardigrats rehydrated and lived.


In 2007, the late ones became the first creatures to survive in the space exposure. They faced subzero temperatures, solar winds and exposure to emptiness during days, where human beings would last at most. The discovery won the site of the Endeavor mission in 2011; The project was called TARDIKISS (Tardigrades in Space).

Global apocalypse

A joint study of space scientists from Oxford and Harvard universities in 2017 revealed that tardigrads would survive the type of astronomical events: large impacts of asteroids, gamma-ray bursts, Supernova explosions, which would lead to the annihilation of human life. "[Tardigrades] They turn global sterilization into an unlikely event, "the document concluded.

Posted in Daily Times, January 28th 2019.

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