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Scientists resurrect 1,500-year-old moss


Posted on Tuesday, 18 March, 2014 | Comment icon 10 comments

The moss was recovered from the permafrost. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Liam Quinn
Despite being frozen in ice for over a millennium, the ancient moss started to grow after being thawed.
Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey collected samples of the moss from the depths of the Antarctic permafrost and placed them in to an incubator at a temperature similar to that of the conditions experienced by live specimens in the summer.

To their surprise the moss started to grow new shoots within just three weeks, making this the oldest frozen plant to ever be resurrected. Previous efforts to accomplish the same thing had succeeded only in thawing moss that had been frozen for less than 20 years.

"Various people have asked us did we do anything complicated to make it re-grow," said study co-author Prof Peter Convey. "We've basically just cut it in half and put in the incubator and did as little as possible."

The team will now be looking to determine whether it will be possible to revive moss that has been frozen for even longer, with the oldest known samples dating back over 5,000 years.

Source: BBC News | Comments (10)

Tags: Antarctic, Ice, Frozen, Moss

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by 6.6.6 on 18 March, 2014, 18:51
As polar caps melt its going to be interesting as to what else is revealed! Ancient wonders, or viruses trapped in time for thousands of years. The glory of ice being, what ever is in there is going to be well preserved
Comment icon #2 Posted by ancient astronaut on 18 March, 2014, 18:55
The Thing.
Comment icon #3 Posted by moonshadow60 on 18 March, 2014, 19:26
How wonderful! I hope there are ancient flowers as well, or tree seeds. It would be amazing to watch something that old spring from the ground and grow.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Calibeliever on 18 March, 2014, 21:02
It speaks to the tenacity of life. We used to believe that life was so fragile and could only exist within certain parameters. Our understanding has come a long way in the last few decades. I just hope we don't wake up something that humans have lost immunity to.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Sundew on 19 March, 2014, 1:36
How wonderful! I hope there are ancient flowers as well, or tree seeds. It would be amazing to watch something that old spring from the ground and grow. That would be neat, but I think I remember the only two higher vascular plants in Antarctica are one species of grass and one composite (daisy family), so trees at least would be highly unlikely.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Uncle Sam on 19 March, 2014, 3:55
Image finding an animal that put itself in suspend animation, an animal we never seen before that is billions of years old. It would be amazing find and it would help scientists in evolution department. It would probably be one of the fewest fossil animals to be alive, with remarkable attributes that could be studied and applied to today's science. I am hoping for an animal with attributes we never have seen so far...
Comment icon #7 Posted by moonshadow60 on 19 March, 2014, 16:49
Awww,,,but it would be wonderful if there were tree seeds. Maybe carried to the area by ancient birds.
Comment icon #8 Posted by seeder on 20 March, 2014, 12:31
Already posted http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=263919&hl=
Comment icon #9 Posted by eaglesareskykittens on 25 March, 2014, 0:27
This reminds me of a certain episode from the 4th Dr. Who.....
Comment icon #10 Posted by lightly on 26 March, 2014, 19:38
Awww,,,but it would be wonderful if there were tree seeds. Maybe carried to the area by ancient birds. Ya, especially if they would sprout! stories like this always make me wonder about the nature of LIFE ... how can life be maintained within stuff like this?! Orrr ... does life somehow Re enter !? I doubt that i guess.. but it dumfounds me how life could still be in that moss .


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