Science & Technology
Ancient frozen plants revived in lab
May 29, 2013 | 8 comments
Image Credit: Ansgar Walk
Scientists have succeeded in reviving plants frozen during a miniature ice age centuries ago.
[!gad]Known as the 'Little Ice Age', the period of climatic cooling roughly 400 years ago resulted in ice coverage over large areas of land that are only now beginning to thaw. Of particular interest in these newly melted regions are specimens of plants that despite being encased in ice for centuries are still capable of sprouting new growth when subjected to the right conditions.
"When we looked at them in detail and brought them to the lab, I could see some of the stems actually had new growth of green lateral branches, and that said to me that these guys are regenerating in the field, and that blew my mind," said study author Catherine La Farge. Such plants offer intriguing clues as to how the planet's ecosystems recover from long cyclic periods of ice coverage throughout history.
Plants that were frozen during the "Little Ice Age" centuries ago have been observed sprouting new growth, scientists say. Samples of 400-year-old plants known as bryophytes have flourished under laboratory conditions.
Source: BBC News
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