Ancient roundworms that froze during the Ice Age have been brought back to life

Cryonics is the practice or technique of deep-freezing the bodies of people who have just died, in the hope that scientific advances may allow them to be revived in the future.

The prehistoric roundworms (nematodes) that were alive between 32 000 and 42 000 years ago, when woolly mammoths roamed the earth, were found in two areas of Siberia in Russia.

Duvanny Yar

They were found in permafrost samples taken from the inside of an ancient squirrel burrow and from a site near a river and were kept in storage before being thawed.

According to the published research the nematodes showed signs of life after they had been defrosted in a laboratory at The Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science near Moscow. The worms reportedly “started moving and eating”.

Russian scientists in partnership with Princeton University reported that they have obtained data that demonstrates the ability of multicellular organisms to survive for long periods of time (cryobiosis) in permafrost deposits of the Arctic under conditions of natural cryoconservation.

“It is obvious that this ability suggests that the Pleistocene nematodes have some adaptive mechanisms that may be of scientific and practical importance for related fields of science such as cryomedicine, cryobiology and astrobiology.”

The nematodes, that are both believed to be female, are the oldest living animals on the planet.

Nematodes

 

The Russian institutions involved in the pioneering research were: The Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science; Moscow State University; Pertsov White Sea Biological Station which is part of Moscow State University; and the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.

The Department of Geosciences at Princeton University was also involved.

WATCH: Ancient worms discovered in permafrost

 

  AUTHOR
Amanda Coetzee

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