By Lynne Goldsmith
For over 500 million years
through five mass extinctions,
tardigrades have made their homes:
in volcanos and Himalayas,
at pressures six times greater
than Mariana’s Trench floor,
and in space and temperatures
from minus 273 degrees
to 150 degrees Celsius.
They’ve survived radiation
one thousand times greater
than what humans withstand.
They’ve gone without food
for thirty years and floated around
without air until found again.
They make ice crystallize within
to protect themselves from expansion
and release their water if needed
to turn into a ball and dry out dormant.
They make large amounts of antioxidants,
with still more tricks and mysteries
for defying all the odds, these creatures
much adept at prolonging for years
intended only for weeks.
Previously published on Emagazine.com.
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Photo credit: istockphoto.com