This eight-legged creature could be Earth’s sole survivor — and help search for aliens

Cockroaches can survive a nuclear winter, but the “water bear” could outlive everything — at least until the Sun dies.

Known as tardigrades, these tiny, eight-legged creatures are likely to keep living long after human beings are gone, according to a new study by Oxford University researchers.


The study, done by Dr. David Sloan, Dr. Rafael Alves Batista and Dr. Abraham Loeb, was publsihed in the journal, Scientific Reports, and focuses on doomsday-like events, including supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, large asteroid impacts, and passing-by stars. Their findings indicate that the tardigrades will outlive us all.

“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 study’s conclusion reads.

Tardigrades is its phylum within the Ecdysozoa superphylum, which includes insects, crustaceans, arachnids and more. They can live without food or water for 30 years and have even survived in space, with Russia claiming they found them clinging to the outside of the International Space Station, alive.

The creatures, which are no more than half a millimeter long, can also withstand extreme temperatures. “Tardigrades can survive for a few minutes at temperatures as…

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