Until recently, it was believed that the only way to guarantee the destruction of the tiny, invulnerable monster called the "tardigrade" was to completely drain the Earth. These organisms are fundamentally dependent on water and, although they can wait out periods of very prolonged drought, in the complete absence of moisture they will inevitably die. But Danish researchers recently discovered another major vulnerability in tardigrades.
The normal habitat of tardigrades is swamps, shallows, puddles and even sewers, where biologists from the University of Copenhagen took samples. While the creature is surrounded by a film of water, it is active, but under unfavorable conditions it goes into a stage of deep hibernation. So they managed to survive at least five global extinctions on Earth, but now there are fears that the tardigrade could be killed by the growing warming of the atmosphere.
The Achilles' heel of the tardigrades was their vulnerability to high rather than low temperatures. Yes, during hibernation, they calmly withstand even boiling, but not for long. Danish scientists have found that at 151 ° C, tardigrades can last no more than half an hour. And at 63 ° C, death occurs with a 50% probability after 24 hours. However, this applies to inactive, sleeping individuals.
In contrast to them, active tardigrades had a powerful tool for acclimatization. If you remove a creature from its usual cool water and place it in warm, with a temperature of only 37 ° C, half of the specimens will die in a day. But, if you first heat the water to only 30 ° C, and then gradually bring the temperature to 35 ° C over several hours, and then to the same 37 ° C, only 36% of the individuals will die. The ability to adapt to an increase in temperature is evident, but for this tardigrades need to wake up in time so as not to die in their sleep.