Knowledgebase article

No life without water

PicturePhoto: Bachmont / CC

Every organism is made up of water. Water is pumped throughout our bodies to support our organs. Plants and animals cannot exist without it. Two-thirds of the human body is water. Our bodies are really sacks of water walking around on dry land.

Camels and people
People can survive for only three or four days without drinking. Camels have found a way around the problem. The humps on their backs are made of tissues that can store up water. This allows them to survive for long periods without eating or drinking – as much as eight to ten days. Handy when they’re crossing the arid desert.

Surviving in areas without water
Some plants and animals can survive hugely long periods of drought because they are so good at keeping moist inside. The thick, leathery exterior of a cactus has hardly any pores. It is almost impossible for the moisture inside it to escape. Lungfish burrow into the river bed just before the river dries up. They can survive there because the mud stays moist and cool for a long time. They hibernate all through the summer months until the river fills up with water again in the autumn.

Photo left Photo: Bachmont / CC
Fossil lungfish

Fossil lungfish. Collection Museon