They’re known as water bears or moss piglets, and if that hasn’t grabbed your cuteness attention yet, the picture will.
Tardigrades are eight-legged segmented micro-animals and are known as being the most durable creature.
In a recent study by the CSIRO, tardigrades were found as the dominant microfauna in Antarctica – that 99.7% is permanently covered by snow and ice.
A total 126 tardigrades were isolated in soil samples. Although frozen at -80% for about two years, a large amount of these adorable creatures were still alive.
They live everywhere – from Mt Fuji to that pond your aunty doesn’t upkeep in her backyard. Facinating scientists for over 200 years, little is known why they are so withstanding to extreme stresses.
However, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) suggests that foreign genes have impacted the composition of the tardigrade genome: supplementing, expanding, and replacing endogenous gene families.
Simplified, if they’re sitting next to a pansy, they will steal their DNA (in a way). We’ve all had those days where we wish he were a flower. Scientifically, these include families implicated in stress tolerance.
Either way it goes, these creatures could certainly take over the world in the apocalypse – cuteness overload.
For more information on CSIRO study: http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/IS14019.htm
For more information on PNAS study: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/52/15976.abstract