What are tardigrades, and where do they come from?
Tardigrades, also known as “water bears,” are microscopic eight-legged creatures that don’t age, can survive in space, don’t need water to survive, and can survive temperatures below 300 degrees Fahrenheit. They are borderline immortal, and they fascinate scientists.
Scientists avidly study them all the time, but that doesn’t mean they know much about them. Even with all the genetic sequencing they do, they can’t figure out what tardigrades are. Are they insects? Arthropods? Worms? There’s no phylum like theirs on the planet.
Oddly enough, we aren’t actually sure they’re from our planet, either. Because they can live in space and because we can’t seem to find fossils of them, our scientists can’t figure out where they came from.