The worms had been frozen within the Siberian permafrost. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 APL
Russian scientists claim that they have successfully revived ancient worms that were frozen in permafrost.
The roundworms, which were collected from two different regions of Siberia, had been frozen since the Pleistocene age before being brought back to life in petri dishes at a lab near Moscow.
Out of the 300 worms collected for the study, only two of them showed signs of life.
"We have obtained the first data demonstrating the capability of multicellular organisms for longterm cryobiosis in permafrost deposits of the Arctic," the study authors wrote.
The breakthrough means that these worms are likely to be the oldest living animals on the planet.
"Our data demonstrate the ability of multicellular organisms to survive long-term (tens of thousands of years) cryobiosis under the conditions of natural cryoconservation," the scientists wrote.
"It is obvious that this ability suggests that the Pleistocene nematodes have some adaptive mechanisms that may be of scientific and practical importance."
If their survival mechanism can be isolated and understood, it could prove invaluable.
The find also bodes well for the discovery of life forms on other worlds.
Source: Siberian Times | Comments (6)