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16 million-year-old tardigrade found in amber

October 6, 2021 | Comment icon 5 comments

Tardigrades are known for their remarkable resilience. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Goldstein lab
The microscopic specimen was found trapped inside a lump of amber dating back to the Miocene epoch.
It is often said that if a major apocalyptic disaster was to befall the Earth, the only thing left would be cockroaches. In reality however, there is another, far more resilient creature on our planet that would still be around long after the cockroaches had disappeared

The tardigrade (or water bear) is one of the toughest life forms in existence. These microscopic invertebrates have been around for over 520 million years and have lived through countless mass extinction events including the one that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Now a previously undiscovered species of tardigrade, one dating back 16 million years, has been found preserved within a lump of amber that was unearthed in the Dominican Republic.

Named Paradoryphoribius chronocaribbeus, it is only the third tardigrade preserved in amber ever to be fully described and named. The reason for this scarcity is down to their tiny size and the fact that their bodies don't break down and produce the types of minerals that are preserved for long periods.
"The discovery of a fossil tardigrade is truly a once-in-a-generation event," said Phil Barden - a biologist at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

"What is so remarkable is that tardigrades are a ubiquitous ancient lineage that has seen it all on Earth, from the fall of the dinosaurs to the rise of terrestrial colonization of plants."

"Yet, they are like a ghost lineage for paleontologists with almost no fossil record. Finding any tardigrade fossil remains is an exciting moment where we can empirically see their progression through Earth history."

Source: Science Alert | Comments (5)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Robotic Jew 11 days ago
Poor woman....
Comment icon #2 Posted by jethrofloyd 11 days ago
Tardigrades are truly a fantastic little creatures. They should be declared as 'The official animal of planet Earth',
Comment icon #3 Posted by Robotic Jew 11 days ago
If that's where they are really from.....
Comment icon #4 Posted by ItwasAliens 10 days ago
If transformers were couches instead of cars...
Comment icon #5 Posted by NCC1701 9 days ago
Just add water.

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