By: April Carson
A new, indestructible species of animal has been found in Finland by scientists. This particular type of creature is called a tardigrade, and it's already considered one of the toughest organisms on Earth because it can withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures. In fact, tardigrades are so hearty that they would likely survive an apocalypse, according to National Geographic. But this newly discovered tardigrade isn't just any old tough guy—researchers have named him after a certain character from Harry Potter: Lord Voldemort's snake Nagini!
The scientists, who published their findings in the journal ZooKeys, say tardigrades are surprisingly resistant to desiccation (drying out), and that this new species is the first of its kind to be found in northern Europe.
These new mammals discovered by scientists look like miniature bears. They have been named Macrobiotus naginae after the Harry Potter character Nagini.
The researchers discovered the new tardigrade by accident while they were collecting mosses, lichens, and leaves to study organisms that live in those environments. They figured it had a kinship with the Harry Potter character when they examined the samples under a microscope.
This new species of indestructible animal is known to survive in temperatures ranging from -272 degrees Celsius up to 151 degrees Celsius, and can be revived from a dehydrated state when conditions become more favorable.
The authors chose the name M. naginae for this new type of limbless creature, as it is reminiscent of a cursed woman turned beast in fiction. This species is part of the pseudohufelandi complex, which generally have shorter legs and smaller claws. Interestingly, this physical characteristic allows them to more easily movement through sandy areas by digging their claws between sand grains for stability.
M. naginae has significance for scientists, as it could help them understand how life can survive in extreme conditions. With an increased understanding of the species' behavior and morphology, researchers may be able to gain insight into how similar organisms have adapted to survive in various climates all around the world.
Tardigrades, also informally known as water bears or moss piglets, are nearly indestructible. They can withstand extreme freezing (just above absolute zero), complete dehydration, and lethal amounts of radiation--all conditions that wouldkill a human. In 2016, researchers revived two tardigrades that had been frozen for 30 years; one of them survived and laid 19 eggs, 14 of which hatched successfully.
In order to see if tardigrades could survive in space, scientists shot them out of a gun at 2,160 miles per hour. Now that they know they can withstand the voyage, researchers want to fire them into space at 100 million miles an hour.
Given their extraordinary abilities, the species has been named after a character from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series: “Mictardigrades.” The researchers hope that this name will help to bring attention to their remarkable and exciting discovery.
Even more surprisingly, the study found that tardigrades can survive being eaten by a snail. In fact, it appears as though they pass right through the gut and keep going. A team of researchers were able to find living tardigrades in the feces of one-quarter of snails caught Wild.
Extremophiles are a category of animals that can survive in environments that would be deadly to most other species. Tardigrades belong to this category, and their ability to withstand extreme conditions is due in part to a protein called Dsup (short for "damage suppressor"). This protein protects their DNA from being harmed by ionizing radiation, which is present in soil, water, and vegetation. Cryptobiosis is an inactive state caused by a dry environment, in which micro-animals expel all the water from their bodies, retract heads and limbs, roll up into a ball, and become dormant. When conditions improve, they rejuvenate themselves and return to their previous state.
Researchers from the University of Northumbria have discovered a new type of tardigrade that is even more resilient than its predecessors. They named it Hebeservus potteri, in honor of the famous Harry Potter character.
Despite scientists' best efforts, a full explanation for tardigrades' hardiness remains unknown. In a study published earlier this year in the journal Communications Biology, some researchers postulate that tardigrades produce a sugar called trehalose which helps them enter into a state of suspended animation alongside protein CAHS-D. The researchers hope their discoveries may help humans in water scarce situations.
The long-term objective of this field is to figure out how to confer the adaptation abilities of tardigrades onto other organisms that cannot normally survive drying," said one of the scientists. "This study provides a convincing argument that combining different, synergistic protectants may be necessary to achieve this goal."
The results of the study have important implications for areas of research such as astrobiology, in which researchers are attempting to figure out how to colonize other planets. If Macrobiotus polypauci is able to survive in a harsher environment than tardigrades and is indestructible, then it may be possible to develop organisms that are resistant to extreme conditions. This could enable us to explore and colonize other planets in the future, opening a new era of interplanetary exploration.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
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