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Cockroaches are generalized insects and among the most primitive almost all living winged insects with evidence suggesting termites evolved directly from cockroaches. The earliest cockroach-like fossils with long external ovipositors are very ancient – over 300 million years old. Modern cockroaches with internal ovipositors first appeared in the early Cretaceous period.

Cockroaches are among the hardiest insects on the planet and have become synonymous with survival, and their long amber record should be no surprise. Their ability to survive on virtually nothing is legendary – even living on the glue of postage stamps. Some can go without air for 45 minutes - and recover after being underwater for half an hour.

Cockroaches have a much higher radiation resistance than vertebrates, up to 15 times human lethal dose (not necessarily better than other insects). The reason is remarkably simple, however – they are sensitive to radiation only when they molt - and adult cockroaches molt less frequently than juveniles. And since not all cockroaches molt at the same time, an acute burst of radiation would leave many unaffected. However, lingering radioactive fallout would still be dangerous. Consequently, cockroaches will not "inherit the earth" after a nuclear war.

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