Extreme environments present a wealth of biochemical adaptations. Thermal hysteresis proteins (THPs) have been found in vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, bacteria and fungi and are able to depress the freezing point of water (in the presence of ice crystals) in a non-colligative manner by binding to the surface of nascent ice crystals. The THPs comprise a disparate group of proteins with a variety of tertiary structures and often no common sequence similarities or structural motifs. Different THPs bind to different faces of the ice crystal, and no single mechanism has been proposed to account for THP ice binding affinity and specificity. Experimentally THPs have been used in the cryopreservation of tissues and cells and to induce cold tolerance in freeze susceptible organisms. THPs represent a remarkable example of parallel and convergent evolution with different proteins being adapted for an anti-freeze role.