Microscopic tardigrades, also known as “water bears,” are the toughest animals on the planet, capable of withstanding intense radiation, extreme temperatures, and even the vacuum of space. In a fascinating new study, researchers have shown that tardigrades are poised to survive literally anything that nature throws at them—and that of the animals alive today, they’ll be the last ones standing before the Sun annihilates the Earth billions of years from now.
When we think of biodiversity, usually our minds conjure up colorful lush images of plants and trees, bright amphibians, reptiles and fish, mammals, and brightly tinted birds on the wing. Maybe you even think of crazy looking insects. But what most of us don’t often think of when we think of biodiversity is the world beneath our feet, the teeming life below ground.