Cracking how 'water bears' survive the extremes

Diminutive animals known as tardigrades appear to us as plump, squeezable toys, earning them irresistible nicknames such as "water bears" and "moss piglets."

Tiny 'water bears' can teach us about survival

Earth's ultimate survivors can weather extreme heat, cold, radiation and even the vacuum of space. Now the U.S. military hopes these tiny critters called tardigrades can teach us about true toughness.

Video: What makes tardigrades such great survivors

Tardigrades are tiny animals that can live in water droplets just about anywhere. When those water droplets dry out, tardigrades undergo an astonishing transformation to survive the lack of water.

These Gummy Bear-looking things will inherit the earth

Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are microscopic animals that live basically everywhere on earth, from the hot springs atop the Himalayas to the icy tundra of Antarctica to —almost certainly —your backyard.

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