They are virtually indestructible. They can endure the temperature from just over absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, they can live in high pressure, high radiation, live without food for about 10 years, so it is almost indestructible.
The tardigrade is a microscopic creature that has proven to be the toughest life form to kill. In fact, they are so tough that even they survived the fall of an asteroid and a supernova explosion! So, there's no way of killing this creature, right? Well, not anymore. According to an experiment conducted by scientists from Denmark, these creatures do carry a weak point.
This discovery was passed on in the report called "Scientific Reports" shared by the University of Copenhagen. According to this article, researchers already knew that Tardigrades are quite capable to survive in cold conditions. However, they do not feel comfortable if the temperatures start to peak.
Earlier studies proved that these microscopic creatures can withstand temperature from 60 to 65 degrees Celsius for 10 hours. And if the temperatures reach about 150 degrees, then their life span reduced to merely 30 minutes. Based on this information, scientists began a new kind of research. They kept tardigrades under close surveillance to understand how long tardigrades can survive in the long summer heat.
So why are they so tough?
Finding the tardigrade's weakness is believed to be a milestone in its respective field. And why not? Research states that these micro-animals have lived through five mass extinctions! And the reason they survived billions of years because they can immerse themselves in the so-called state of anhydrobiosis. According to researchers, when a tardigrade comes into the extreme condition, they go into a "dried" state. In this condition, retract their limbs and take shape like a barrel. The moisture level of the body remains insignificant, and for that reason, they become smaller and slow down the metabolism. So, is there any way to kill them?
We have said earlier in this post that tardigrades are not capable enough to handle extreme heat. And this vulnerability also applies to when they are going through anhydrobiosis process. The specimen (Ramazzottius varieornatus) used in the experiment was collected from Danish water bodies. The result of this experiment was astounding. It has been observed that when water temperature reached 37.1 degrees Celsius, half of the tardigrades died only after 24 hours. On the other hand, tardigrades who have lived in a slowly rising temperature, generally died when the warmth reach at 37.6 degrees.
Tardigrades who were in their “dried” state, died within a day when the temperature has grown to 82.7 degrees Celsius. However, they survived this significant amount of heat just because of the thermal effect didn't last more than an hour. Although, if the water temperatures remain hot, these indestructible creatures do perish even at 63.1 degrees. It was the most crucial point of the research. Because, this data proved that, these amazing creatures cannot survive if the atmosphere is being bombarded with constant heat.
Now you might be thinking we have earlier said that they can survive about 150 degrees for 30 minutes, so why they are dying at 63 degrees Celsius in this experiment? It's a good question and asked by many. The answer is, most probably they used different types of tardigrade for research. In this experiment, the entire test was performed on tardigrade that was living in the water bodies.
Now, coming to the main question of how to kill these tenacious creatures. Well, we believe you know the answer already. However, according to researchers, we won't have to do anything to kill them. They will perish anyways with the rising temperature of our atmosphere. Yes, there is a possibility that some animals and creatures will adapt to rising temperatures. Now the question we all need to ask is, for how long?