Sunday, June 30, 2013

The toughest animal on the planet

Not really the kind of animal you see everyday as they are only about 1 mm to 1.5 mm long but still, they are animal.

The toughest, hardest creature is a tardigrade, also known as a water bear. They are found everywhere in the world, from the highest mountains to the deepest oceans, and there are more than 900 species of them.

Tardigrades or water bear. Freeze them, dry them, expose them to radiation and they're so resilient they'll still be alive! Image credit: Dailymail

Image credit: Dailymail

Tardigrades can dehydrate their bodies to just 1% of their normal water content. Without water, most chemical reactions happen too slowly to harm them and ice crystals can’t rupture their cells. They are extremophiles – animals that can exist in the most hostile of conditions.

They have been boiled at over 150ºC and frozen in liquid nitrogen without any noticeable harm. They can survive pressures of 6,000 atmospheres and in 2007, the Russian FOTON-M3 spacecraft took tardigrade passengers into orbit.

After 12 days exposed to the vacuum, cold and radiation of space, they hadn’t just survived; they had laid eggs that hatched! Pretty cool.

Now, for a comparison, the bears, despite their big and tough body build, is nothing compared to the toughness and survivability of the tardigrades.

The Bear that we know; only more than a thousand times bigger. Image credit:

References: Dailymail, Sciencefocus


Meitzeu said...

Oh my... This is gross.


Adam said...

I've heard of them, quite crazy they exist

CJane said...


thomas said...

didn't know such a small animal can be so tough.