Animal revived after being frozen for 24,000 years in Siberian permafrost

The microscopic rotifer puts Rip Van Winkle to shame.

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This rotifer, a microscopic animal, is also known as a “wheel animal”.

If I get eight hours of sleep, I’m doing great. Meanwhile, a microscopic arctic animal got 24,000 years of sleep and came out on the other side just fine. A new study details the remarkable journey of the Bedeloid rotifer, a tiny freshwater crater that survived for millennia in Siberia’s permafrost.

Stas Malvin of Russia’s Institute of Physiological and Biological Problems in Soil Science said in a cell, “Our report is the hardest evidence to date that multicellular animals may have endured thousands of years in cryptobiosis, a process of almost completely arrested metabolism.” Event.” press statement.

Malvin is a co-author of a paper describing the rotifer’s incredible feat of survival, published Monday in the journal Current Biology.

Rotifers are also known as “wheel animalcules”, thanks to the Latin origin of their name which is related to the “wheel” of small hairs on one end of their bodies. The “Animalcule” part refers to them as microscopic animals.

Malvin’s team specializes in drawing samples of permafrost in remote locations using drilling techniques. The rotifer came from a depth of about 11 feet (3.5 m). The researchers used radiocarbon dating — a method of determining the age of biological material — to date the animal. Once molted, it was essentially able to reproduce itself through cloning.

Permafrost is the gift that keeps on giving. siberian rotifer is in good company ancient virus, a protected paleolithic baby horse And a intact woolly rhinoceros. Mammals could not be revived.

Science has been witness to the impressive resilience of tiny organisms. Tardigrades – affectionately known as water bears – are microscopic animals that can survive cold, radiation and Even being fired from a gun (up to a point). Researchers have also discovered Small animals are crazy at the bottom of the Antarctic ice shelf.

The researchers thawed rotifers by freezing them in laboratory experiments. The results suggest that wheel animals have an as yet unknown mechanism to avoid the slow solidification process. The team intends to look for more animals that may be able to survive under similar conditions. If scientists can understand how animals protect and protect themselves, they may be able to improve cryonics for more complex animals, such as humans.

“What this means is that a multicellular organism can be frozen and stored for thousands of years and then come back to life — the dream of many fiction writers,” Malvin said.

“Of course, the more complex the organism, the more difficult it is to preserve,” he notes, with a major caveat to any human hibernators: “For mammals, this is currently not possible.”

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