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Neil deGrasse Tyson, Twinkies and Tardigrades...

Stashed in: Science!, Life, Awesome, Survivor!, @neiltyson, Twinkies!, Science Too, Biology, SETI, Life finds a way., Life Finds a Way, National Geographic

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Earth’s most tenacious creature can live in boiling water, solid ice, and the intense radiation of space. It can survive a decade in a desert, without a drop of water to drink, or in the deepest trenches of the sea.


The small aquatic invertebrates are nearly invincible, able to tolerate conditions and temperatures that would kill nearly any other living creature. So what gives the tiny tardigrade its enormous strength?


Tardigrades change form to survive without water.

When faced with extreme conditions, tardigrades can dry out completely, replacing almost of the water in their bodies with a sugar called trehalose. As a result, they’re able to survive environments that would otherwise kill them.


Tardigrades’ minuscule size hides them from predators.

For all their resilience, the tardigrade is one of nature’s smallest creatures. Barely the size of a poppy seed at less than 1.5 millimeters long, the tardigrade can exist hidden in sediments and seas, unnoticed by potential predators.


Tardigrades’ mouths contain sharp daggers.

Though they may be little, they are fierce! The tardigrade’s mouth is a serious weapon, its dagger-like teeth used to spear algae and even other small animals.


Tardigrades traveled to space – and survived.

To test the true resilience of tardigrades, Swedish researcher K. Ingemar Jonsson from Kristianstad University launched tardigrades into space on the FOTON-M3 spacecraft on low-Earth orbit in 2007. Exposed to open space conditions, most of the tardigrades survived exposure to vacuum and cosmic rays, with some even surviving deadly levels of UV radiation.

They’ve been around longer than nearly every other living organism.rDDdMkH.gif

Tardigrades roamed the earth and seas far before humans did – and will most likely outlast us. Will the tardigrades be nature’s last organisms standing? And Twinkies. Don't forget Twinkies.

Why will Twinkies survive?

Shelf "life".

For some definition of life. 

What is it in the Twinkie that gives it a long shelf life?

Twinkies are far from immortal but they owe their unnatural freshness to the common preservatives shared among all foods du junque.

But the actual shelf life of Twinkies is only 45 days!

We have to confess: When we heard that Twinkies will have nearly double the shelf life, 45 days, when they return to stores next week, our first reaction was — days? Not years?

Urban legend has long deemed Twinkies the cockroaches of the snack food world, a treat that can survive for decades, what humanity would have left to eat come the apocalypse. The true shelf life — which used to be 26 days — seems somewhat less impressive by comparison.

WTF?  This is amazing...  up to this point I thought is was mushroom spores that were the most likely colonizing aliens of intergalactic travel.  Now micro animals!

Never would have believed it, but if NdGT says so then holy shit... amazing science!  NdGT is the dude....

And actually this information is a year old.

It's from his series COSMOS from 2014, which is excellent and stands up to repeat viewings.

Adam has a Twinkies stash, Adam has a Twinkies stash, woo-oo-ooh!

Yes, it's one of the stranger stashes.

Tardigrades aka water bears have the most foreign DNA of any animal:

1000+ Reddit comments:

Top Reddit comment:

Foreign, in this case, means that tardigrades share a greater percentage of their DNA sequence with very distantly related organisms (such as bacteria) than any other animal whose genome has been sequenced so far. This is likely because of horizontal gene transfer; ie, picking up random DNA from the environment and cramming into the genome to see how it works out.

The authors suggest that maybe tardigrades have done this so much as a result of their ability to withstand desiccation. When organisms dry out and then rehydrate, their cell membranes can temporarily break, making it easier for random DNA fragments in the environment to enter. The same process also necessitates the evolution of strong DNA repair mechanisms, which are meant to fix the organism's native DNA, but may also help to add in the DNA picked up by mistake. And in turn, having this source of genetic variation to add into the population may have helped tardigrades evolve even more neat tricks to withstand harsh environments.

And they are still adorable!

Nice! And yes, the water bears are adorable!

A tiny home in Berkeley inspired by the tardigrade:

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