As if surviving nuclear apocalypse wasn't enough, new research suggests that cockroaches are also prepared to make it through climate change, as well. Damn you, future insect overlords!
Science has known for some time that, when cockroaches are resting, they periodically stop breathing for up to 40 minutes, but it took researchers at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, to discover just why they did so. The team, led by Natalie Schimpf, found that cockroaches' breathing is related to water as opposed to oxygen concentration or carbon dioxide, as previously theorized. According to Schimpf:
Cockroaches lose water across their respiratory surfaces when they breathe... so taking shorter breaths in dry conditions reduces the amount of water they will lose.
George McGavin of the University of Oxford explains why this means that they're environmentally invincible:
Living in the humid conditions of a rainforest, where they evolved, might be plain sailing, but cockroaches are adaptable and can cope in a wide range of environmental conditions... Two hundred and fifty million years of physiological fine tuning has produced a creature that will be around for a long time to come. Cockroaches, I'm afraid to say, will do well in the face of climate change.
That's it; I'm splicing my DNA with cockroach as soon as possible.
Cockroaches future-proofed against climate change [New Scientist]