What is the world's most resilient and hardy lifeform? The cockroach has a reputation for toughness – many people seem convinced it could even survive a nuclear apocalypse. The tardigrades, or water bears, are probably even hardier. We know for sure that they can survive being blasted into the hostile emptiness of outer space.
Now it is time to meet another contender: a species of algae that thrives in Yellowstone's bubbling hot springs, deep down in the belly of the Earth where the water is as corrosive as battery acid and the environment is laced with arsenic and heavy metals.
The algae's secret? Theft. It stole the genes it needs to survive from other lifeforms. It is a tactic that may be more common than we think…