Tardigrades, one of the smallest and cutest animals on the planet, play a big role in science research: they help promote human life.

Commonly known as water bears or moss piglets, Tardigrades are invertebrate animals about the size of a period at the end of a sentence. So why do scientists study these microscopic water-dwellers with their long, puffy bodies, eight legs, and scrunched up faces? To advance human life, of course.

Believe it or not, these tiny animals are the hardiest animals discovered on earth! It’s their resilience to radiation, pressure, and extreme temperatures that helps scientists improve human health through resisting radiation and pressure during space travel, surviving catastrophes, preserving tissues for transplants, and freezing eggs and sperm for artificial insemination. Water bears also give hope for finding life on other planets and out-living any major extinction events.

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Water bears may be cute and tiny, but they serve humanity in a big way. They improve our day to day lives and will advance the lives of humans for generations to come.

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