No matter how evolved the humans have become, there’s no denying the fact that our time on Earth is limited—not just individually, but as a species. Whether it’s the sun’s eventual implosion, the effects of climate change, or an approaching asteroid (gulp!), chances are that the third rock from the sun will see some sort of cataclysmic event one day.
Strangely, a recent study claims that, if such an event were to occur, human beings would not be the last species to walk the Earth. According to the study, the only life form capable of surviving some sort of doomsday scenario would be a species you’ve likely never even heard of—and have definitely never seen.
When you see this little bugger who’ll outlive you and everything else on Earth, you’ll be shocked…
Human beings have a tendency to believe that they’re the most evolved species on planet Earth. No matter how singular humankind thinks it is, at the end of the day, people are as susceptible to some sort of rapturous event as any other species.
In fact, a group of scientists at Oxford University just performed a study that proved, in the event of a cataclysmic incident, that humans would not be the last surviving species. Simultaneously, the researchers were able to pinpoint the exact odd life form that would outlive everything.
The researchers were able to determine that, should Earth experience an apocalyptic event, there would likely be just one surviving species… and it has eight legs. No, it’s not a breed of particularly hardy spider. Rather, it’s a water-dwelling species known as tardigrades!
“To our surprise, we found that although nearby supernovae or large asteroid impacts would be catastrophic for people, tardigrades could be unaffected,” Dr. David Sloan, one of the researchers at Oxford University, said in an interview.
Known as micro-animals, tardigrades have some excellent survival skills that set them far apart from any other species on Earth and make them practically indestructible. This includes the ability to survive without air for up to 30 years, as well as temperatures exceeding 302℉ and dipping below those of outer space.
While conducting their research, the scientists considered three different cataclysmic events that would likely wipe out humanity as we know it. These included gamma ray bursts, exploding stars as supernovae, and a large asteroid impact.
“It seems that life, once it gets going, is hard to wipe out entirely,” Dr. Sloan continued. “Huge numbers of species or even entire genera may become extinct, but life as a whole will go on.” It certainly will, what with these little critters around!
Oxford University staff member Dr. Alves Batista said that tardigrades not only prove that there will be life on Earth long after humankind, but that they also lend credence to the belief that we will find extraterrestrial life on another planet while we’re still here.
Dr. Batista was also sure to mention that, although he was aware of the resilience of tardigrades, he believed there could be other possibly even stronger species somewhere out there that have yet to be discovered by scientists.
“Tardigrades are as close to indestructible as it gets on Earth, but it is possible that there are other resilient species examples in the universe,” he said about the existence of other species that can survive a cataclysmic event. It’s amazing to think that an organism so small could be so unstoppable!
While it can be scary to think that a microscopic species can outlive all of humankind, it’s simultaneously amazing. What do you think?