Long-lived tardigrade, or who will remain on Earth after the end of the world

A tardigrade is a microscopic creature whose habitat is water. The better known name is "water bear". The invertebrate has 8 legs that resemble those of an ordinary bear.

Currently, there is no more hardy animal than the tardigrade. They are not afraid of heat, radiation, pressure and even a drop in temperature to -2730 ° C. Even if the tardigrade is heated to 1510 ° C, deprived of water for a couple of decades, or forced to bathe in liquid helium or alcohol solution, the creature will survive.

The creatures have a personal record: Japanese microbiologists froze several specimens for 30 years, then thawed them back to life. The awakening was slow: it took 2 weeks for the full restoration of vital functions. After 30 days, the thawed tardigrades took up the issue of procreation.

The animals endured freezing due to the ability to fall into cryobiosis - extreme hibernation. It is used by many microscopic entities that find themselves in difficult conditions for life. During cryobiosis, the metabolic rate is only 0.01% of the normal rate.

It is believed that water bears are able to replace the water contained in their bodies with antifreeze, that is, glycerin, which does not protect cells from cold damage. These creatures were found in 1983 in moss samples brought from East Antarctica.