Water bears: Scientists reveal the only animal that could survive the apocalypse

Who might actually survive the end of the world? Scientists have given their answer, and humans don't stand a chance! Find out which animal is the most likely to survive.

Apocalypse end of world humans Earth Space
© The Curse / A24
Apocalypse end of world humans Earth Space

The concept of the apocalypse has fascinated humans forever. It has fuelled endless films, series and novels, and somehow humans mostly perish with their beloved planet. Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Harvard have looked into the most likely outcome in case the end of the world actually happens, and one animal could make it out alive. Here's what you should know.

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Humans have a very slim chance of survival

The study focuses on events that could come from outer space and 'completely sterilise an Earth-like planet'. According to the researchers, humans would not survive these events, as they would be hot enough to boil all the water that makes up more than half of our planet. However, one animal could actually survive the end of times, for about as long as 10 billion years: the water bear. According to the official University of Oxford website:

The research implies that life on Earth in general, will go on as long as the Sun keeps shining. It also reveals that once life emerges, it is surprisingly resilient and difficult to destroy, opening the possibility of life on other planets.

Water bears might outlive us

According to a 2017 study from the universities of Oxford and Harvard, only one animal could survive the Apocalypse: the tardigrade. Do not worry if you have never heard of this creature, which is also known as the 'water bear' or 'moss piglet'. The tardigrade is a near-microscopic aquatic creature with a flat head, eight legs and chubby bodies. They may look cute but they are very sturdy, which could help them survive the end of the world. According to the Harvard Gazette:

Tardigrade may be little but they are the toughest form of life on Earth. The water-dwelling micro-animals are known to be able to live for up to 30 years without food or water. They can endure temperatures of up to 150 degrees Celsius, the deep sea, and the frozen vacuum of space.

Study co-author Dr. David Sloan explains:

To our surprise we found that although nearby supernovae or large asteroid impacts would be catastrophic for people, tardigrades could be unaffected. Therefore it seems that life, once it gets going, is hard to wipe out entirely. Huge numbers of species, or even entire genera may become extinct, but life as a whole will go on.

Read more:

Expert reveals what would happen to the Earth if humans went extinct

Mathematicians claim the end of the world is coming sooner than expected

‘Living Nostradamus’ makes worrying prediction for the end of the year

Sources used:

Unilad: Scientists reveal the only animal likely to survive the end of the world

The Harvard Gazette: Last survivors on Earth

University of Oxford: The last survivors on Earth

World on the 'brink of catastrophe' reveal scientists behind Doomsday clock World on the 'brink of catastrophe' reveal scientists behind Doomsday clock