One microscopic Arctic animal was frozen for 24,000 years and came to life unharmed.
A study published this week describes in detail the extraordinary journey of the “bdeloid rotator” – a small freshwater creature that has survived in the eternal ice of Siberia for millennia.
“Our report is the strongest evidence to date that multicellular animals can withstand tens of thousands of years in ‘cryptobiosis’ – a state of almost completely shut down metabolism.
Malavin is the co-author of a paper describing the incredible survival of “Rotatoria”, published in the journal “Current Biology”.
Microscopic “rotators” are named after a rotating ring of small hairs at one end of the body.
Malavin’s team specializes in extracting samples from frozen soil – permafrost, using drilling techniques. The revived “rotatoria” arrived from a shallow depth of about 3.5 meters.
Researchers used “radiocarbon dating” on that animal – a way to determine the age of organic matter, and thus determined that it is as old as 24,000 years.
And since it melted, the “rotator” was even able to reproduce by “cloning” – division, as the species does.
Scientists saw the Siberian permafrost as a “gift that never ceases”, and the Siberian “rotator” joined the “good society”, in which ancient viruses were found there, the preserved body of a foal of a Paleolithic horse and the intact body of a woolly rhinoceros. However, mammals did not come to life.
Science is witnessing the impressive elasticity of small animals. Thus, microscopic animals “tardigrade” – also called “water bears”, can survive both freezing and nuclear radiation. Researchers also found small animals deep beneath the ice surface of the South Pole.