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Scientists Resurrect A 24,000-Year-Old Siberian Permafrost Animal
Russia

Scientists Resurrect A 24,000-Year-Old Siberian Permafrost Animal


Simply add water to complete the process.

Scientists have resurrected a small group of bdelloid rotifers, which are tiny, multicellular freshwater creatures that have been frozen in Siberian permafrost for 24,000 years.

The findings, published Monday in the journal Current Biology, show that the creatures can survive in crytobiosis — a state in which an animal responds to environmental stresses by essentially drying itself out and going dormant — for much longer than previously thought. Previous research found that bdelloid rotifers could survive extreme cold in a cryptobiotic state for at least six to ten years.

“Our report is the strongest proof yet that multicellular animals can survive tens of thousands of years in cryptobiosis, the state of almost completely arrested metabolism,” said Stas Malavin, a co-author of the study and a researcher at Russia’s Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, in a press statement.

Scientists collected 11.5-foot-deep core samples from the Alazeya River in northeastern Siberia for this new study, where isolated microbes, including rotifers, were discovered frozen and dormant.

The rotifers were around 24,000 years old and had been trapped in the frozen soil since the Pleistocene epoch, which ended around 11,700 years ago, according to carbon dating of the core.

When the creatures were thawed, they resurrected and began reproducing through parthenogenesis, an asexual process that produces clones of the original.

“We revived animals that saw woolly mammoths, which is quite impressive,” Malavin told The New York Times.

Although there is no doubt about the rotifer's durability, the title of longest nap goes to the nematode. In 2018, scientists revived some of the microscopic worms that had been frozen for 42,000 years in Siberian permafrost.

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