Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 16 March 2017
The meek shall inherit the earth
I do not understand how I have reached my age and never heard of Tardigrades up until a few days ago. Maybe it is because they are only half a millimetre long.
They have been around for 560 million years but were only discovered in 1773 - because they are half a millimetre long. I suppose that they were always mistaken for insects but they are animals.
I always thought that cockroaches and scorpions were pretty resilient, but these little animals are close to indestructable, if not immortal. They are found everywhere on the earth's surface and feed on mainly mosses and algae cells, but also single-celled invertebrates. Here's some rather astounding facts:
You can dry them out to 3 percent of their body moisture content and they shut down for years, then when you rehydrate them, they come back to life and continue as normal. The longest measured period for this was 30 years, but it could possibly be limitless.
You can bring them down to almost absolute zero temperature and they behave the same, coming back to life after the thaw.
They can withstand any amount of radiation and show no signs of damage. The measured dosage for radiation to Tardigrades was about 20 times the lethal amount for any other life form on earth - including scorpions.
They cannot be drowned - they are found on the bottom of the oceans.
They can survive a vacuum indefinitely - they could colonise Mars and survive the trip to get there on the outside of the space craft.
Next time I look at a patch of moss I am going to get my magnifying glass out.