Tags: water bears | survive | species | tardigrade

Water Bears Could Survive Cataclysmic Event, Study Says

Image: Water Bears Could Survive Cataclysmic Event, Study Says

Waterbear (Tardigrade) from the drainage of a hot spring in Lassen County, California. (Wikimedia Commons)

By    |   Friday, 14 Jul 2017 12:11 PM

Scientists believe water bears can survive the risk of extinction and could be the last remaining living thing on Earth.

A new Oxford University collaboration between David Sloan, Rafael Alves Batista and Abraham Loeb has found that the world’s most indestructible species, also known as tardigrade, are resilient to all astrophysical catastrophes and could live for 10 billion years.

"(We) consider what cataclysmic event could lead to the annihilation of not just human life, but also extremophiles, through the boiling of all water in Earth’s oceans," noted the study, which appeared in the journal Scientific Reports.

"Surprisingly we find that although human life is somewhat fragile to nearby events, the resilience of Ecdysozoa such as Milnesium tardigradum renders global sterilisation an unlikely event."

The eight-legged micro-animal has been hailed for its resilience and is said to be able survive without food or water for 30 years and withstand extreme temperatures, The Independent reported.

Commenting on the study, which took into account asteroid impact, gamma ray bursts and supernovae, Dr. Batista said there were many other species far more resilient than human beings on earth.

"Life on this planet can continue long after humans are gone," he noted in the study.

"Tardigrades are as close to indestructible as it gets on Earth, but it is possible that there are other resilient species examples elsewhere in the universe. In this context there is a real case for looking for life on Mars and in other areas of the solar system in general. If Tardigrades are earth’s most resilient species, who knows what else is out there?"

His Oxford colleague, Dr. Sloan, said their study was focused on how events like supernovae would affect the tardigrade.

"To our surprise we found that although nearby supernovae or large asteroid impacts would be catastrophic for people, tardigrades could be unaffected. Therefore it seems that life, once it gets going, is hard to wipe out entirely. Huge numbers of species, or even entire genera may become extinct, but life as a whole will go on."

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Scientists believe water bears can survive the risk of extinction and could be the last remaining living thing on Earth.
water bears, survive, species, tardigrade
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2017-11-14
Friday, 14 Jul 2017 12:11 PM
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