The AmoebaThey’re resistant to radiation, and being a single cell organism, they don’t have issues with mutations when multiplying. They can reproduce on their own very quickly, which isn’t much fun for them but pretty much guarantees their survival.
According to According to Mythbusters, 10% of cockroaches in their test survived a radiation level of 10,000 rads. The “small” Hiroshima bomb gave off around 10,000 rads, so it is possible that cockroaches can survive but only if they were sufficiently far from the epicenter of the radiation.
In contrast, a human exposed to 10,000 rads would suffer an instantaneous coma and, pretty rapidly, death. The cockroach’s ability to survive is due to their slow growth rate. Their cells only reproduce every 48 hours and so the risk of mutation is lowered.
While not guaranteed, scorpions are likely to survive. As anyone who has seen them in captivity knows, they are not harmed by ultraviolet radiation and do in fact, glow in the dark. Scorpions are not only able to survive UV radiation though, they could likely could likely survive nuclear radiation as well. They are also found in every continent other than Antarctica and can even be frozen and brought back to life. This may help them survive a frozen nuclear winter.
The Braconid Wasp
Braconidae is large family of parasitoid wasps (wasps that lay eggs inside other animals). Luckily for them they are highly resistant to radiation, so they have a very high likelihood to survive nuclear fallout. Researchers have discovered they can withstand up to 180,000 rads of radiation, making them one of the toughest animals alive today.
The lingulata has no issues with trivial mass. It appears that it’s able to burrow deeply into the ground in times of trouble and then emerge later. Despite their ability to survive no one really understands quite how they do it. Still, if they have outlived 99% of species which have ever existed, they would be odds on favorites to survive a nuclear war.
The Fruit Fly
The common fruit fly, or Drosophilla if you want to be specific, can survive high doses of radiation up to around 64,000 rads. Most insects, as it happens, are quite capable of surviving radiation due to slow cell division, and extremely fast reproduction in the case of the fruit fly.
Their ability to survive is linked to their ability to turn genes on and off when required. This allows the fish to survive in any mixture of chemicals, any temperature and any salinity. The fish have actually been observed “redesigning” body parts to cope with new environments. Any fish that can do that is surely a favorite for survival.
Sounds like something out of Doctor Who, doesn’t it? The tardigrade (or water bear) makes the list on account of it being what scientists call an “extremophile”.
Listed as the “most radiation resistant life form” by the Guinness Book of World Records at one point it is clear that this is one tough cookie. It is able to repair damaged DNA so quickly that scientists are trying to use it for help in treating humans.