Asteroids- This word is not an unfamiliar term, after all it is what we have all been studying in our science classes, have been watching in our sci-fi movies and also coming across the spine-chilling news that are making headlines this year.
Asteroids pass by earth every now and then, the most recent being the asteroid 2012- DA14 which had a close brush with earth on 15th Feb 2013. They are small planetoids that pose a great threat to earth and have immense potential of inadvertently destroying life on this planet.
Cretaceous Paleocene Extinction Event
About 65 million years ago, an asteroid striking earth destroyed all the dinosaurs, which ultimately attributed to their extinction. This miserable ending of these huge beasts by an asteroid strike is today known as the Cretaceous-Paleocene extinction event. The impact hurled huge amounts of igneous rocks and toxic particles into the atmosphere, eventually blanketing the whole planet in heat and further in cold. Fascinatingly, there were other animals, creatures and the stunners who managed to survive this apocalypse. But the question is who of todays animals can survive and HOW?
Scientists have agreed that the three basic things that a creature needs to survive the cataclysmic effect of asteroid are:
- They have to be small,
- They should be extensively dispersed across the world and most importantly
- They must live underground
Researchers were curious as to what kind of creatures had the potential to survive the cataclysmic effect of asteroids. Read to know which organisms are on the list.
Don’t underestimate these cute fellows. They have the best chances of surviving an asteroid hit. They live underground for almost all their life, and that’s the reason they are saved from the cataclysmic events like asteroid shower. A habitat underground can keep them protected from predators, extreme temperatures and dry climates.
Animals like Aardvark, armadillos, badgers, bilby, chipmunks, desert tortoise, fennex fox, hamster, jerboa, kangaroo rat, meerkat, mole, nutria, mongoose, rabbits, rodents, tarantulas, wood chucks, shrews, worms and ants are some of the animals who come into this category.
They are cold-blooded and can survive for very long without food, stay in pitch darkness and in chilling cold. They are lucky enough to pursue an amphibious lifestyle and have an ability to burrow which can easily save them from any cataclysmic attack. Lucky croc!
Now, this is really not “fishy” as you think. This 15-cm long fish can survive any habitat, whether they are kept in warm or cold, freshwater or salty, polluted or clean water. Their adaptability is quite powerful by which they can readily activate and de-activate their genes according to the environment.
Oceanic Algae- They can survive darkness, cold, heat and acidification of the ocean too. They can survive a period of almost non-active phase and then revive when the conditions are suitable.
Cyanobacteria- This is ocean-dwelling bacteria which survive via photosynthesis. All they need to live is the light from the sun. They have a great capacity to survive in high acidic conditions even without oxygen.
Mixotrophs- They have a great ability to consume matter in absenteeism of sunlight. They can survive in any crucial situation and can be found in dust and debris. They can also continue to live in low-light conditions. They consume other organisms and rebound quiet quickly. All the above organisms can easily survive the ruinous effect of asteroids.
That one menace which can make any girl scream her head off. One such insect that can face any catastrophic climate change, a viral pandemic, a comet collision or a nuclear war, is this petite cockroach. They can also hold their breath for 40 minutes and can survive without water for several weeks.
This unusual looking animal with hinged shell has survived every catastrophic event since the beginning of all times. Their main trick is to make burrows with their long stalk and tongue-shaped shell whenever they find themselves in trouble.
Last, but not the least, here comes the popular critter- The tardigrades or the famously known water bear. This is the toughest animal alive on the planet which can definitely survive an asteroid impact effect. They are tiny and just 1 mm long and can be found anywhere, right from the deepest ocean trenches to the backyards of your garden. They travel all over the world through winds.
They can survive the vacuum of outer space, solar radiation, gamma radiation, ionic radiation— at doses hundreds of times higher than would kill a person, but it doesn’t end here.
They can also survive extreme pressures, and temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water. They can go without food or water for nearly 10 years, drying out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to rehydrate, forage, and reproduce…