Two newly published scientific studies have surprised scientists at the incredible diversity and immortality of tardigrades, the monsters thought to be invading the moon.
In the first study, Finnish scientists have discovered an entirely new species of Pardigrades that lives on lichens and mosses in Roku National Park, known for its spectacular dune landscapes, Science Alert reports. Shaped by glaciers and wind.
Initially, a team of scientists led by biologist Matteo Vecchi at the University of Huescara planned to collect samples of moss, soil, grass roots and fallen leaves from the dunes here. But in this extremely inhospitable place, they found not only giant tardigrades, but a new species.
A close-up portrait of the new species – (Photo: Zoological Research).
To adapt to the dunes, the Cardigrades here have evolved a species with smaller limbs that allow them to easily climb over the particular terrain.
The “face” of the new species reminded scientists of the Harry Potter character Naginae, a woman who was cursed to become a limbless beast, hence the name Macrobiotus naginae.
The dunes here tend to be fatal to all animals as they go through phases with little to no water, but tardigrades have once again demonstrated the ability to dry themselves out and come back to life when water is available, so they are still very resilient .
In a second, entirely separate study, Dr. Matteo Vecchi discovered another way for Cardigrades to survive besides wiping themselves dry and then resurrecting: by… being eaten by snails.
Snails are much larger than Ƭardigrades and are therefore easy to eat. The tardigrades themselves also “guide the corpse” and give the snail a “hitchhike” when it’s time to travel long distances, because the difference in body size also helps the snail climb faster.
What if I was unlucky to be eaten? Researchers in a Finnish garden revived 10 snails from wild snail droppings and were stunned when five survived.
In another experiment, they fed many snails 694 snails and got 218 live snails. Another 78 were found in the feces but died, and another 398 are believed to have been digested in the snail’s stomach.
However, 31% of the “population” survived being eaten is surprising enough. But the survivor remained healthy as usual and was able to reproduce successfully in peace while under further monitoring in the laboratory.
Two studies, just published in Zoological Studies and Ecology, shed more intriguing data on what scientists around the world are hoping for: immortal monsters that could turn them into astronauts on spaceships, or even hybrid ambitions with humans, for spaceflight astronauts provide some genes that help astronauts. They can withstand cosmic radiation.
This tiny monster has been found in every one of the world’s most extreme environments, surviving many chilling trials. Some are believed to be invading the moon after falling from a crashed Israeli spacecraft years ago.