Tardigrades Are Likely To Be Alive Even 5 Billion Years From Now


Tardigrades are seemingly likely to survive another five billion years from now on.

Scientists have known for some time that tardigrades, also known as water bears, are capable of surviving almost anything they can throw at it. Extended periods of dehydration, exposure to vacuum conditions, and even heavy doses of radiation would fail to kill these micro-animals.

Even though they are less than a millimeter long, they may well be some of the toughest creatures in existence. They have also been around for quite some time. Now, researchers predict that they could survive, as a species, for another 5 billion years.

Tardigrades are Quite Indestructible Creatures

A team looked into the issue as a way of examining how life might survive extinction level events and possibly transmit from planet to planet, even between stars. It also helps them predict life on other planets might exist long enough for us to find it. Of all the members of the animal kingdom, the tardigrade appears to be the most likely to survive a major destructive event. Only some microbes might have a greater chance to continue afterward.David Sloan, a physics researcher at Oxford University, stated that this new study considered “the hardiest species”, namely, the tardigrade. It did so as quite a number of previous studies focused on ‘doomsday’ scenarios.

These revolve around Earth and the astrophysical events, such as supernovae, which could wipe out humanity. However, few considered what species could still survive them.

Sloan, a co-author of the study, continued, relating his comments to other recent discoveries. “As we are now entering a stage of astronomy where we have seen exoplanets and are hoping to soon perform spectroscopy, looking for signatures of life, we should try to see just how fragile this hardiest life is.”
The main reason they put the 5 billion years time limit on the tardigrades’ existence is tied to the Sun. This is predicted to expand to such a size that Earth’s oceans would completely boil away. Still, humans will be gone long before that.
Study results are available in the journal Nature.  
Image Source: Wikimedia
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Roxanne Briean

I am a geek, a gamer and a writer. I have always been fascinated with the online community. At the moment I work as a full-time writer and study interior design. When I'm not scouring the net in search of interesting new gadgets and software I spend my time in MOBAs or drawing.