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Scientists revived a tiny worm-like animal after 24,000 years frozen in Siberian ice. It was still able to eat and reproduce.

Published by Business Insider on Tue, 08 Jun 2021


<p><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/60bf275693c6fa00195e5a3a-2000/rotifer_2_insider.jpg" border="0" alt="rotifer_2_insider" data-mce-source="Michael Plewka/Insider" data-mce-caption="An annotated picture of a rotifer" data-link="https://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/266743.php'from=505163"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Russian scientists have been able to revive a tiny animal called a Bdelloid rotifer that was found in Siberian ice dating back 24,000 years.&nbsp;</p><p>After thawing, the tiny worm-like organism was capable of eating when fed, as can be seen in the video below.</p><p><img src="https://static1.businessinsider.com/image/60bf5292a7202d0018b8da94-600/ezgif.com-gif-maker.gif" border="0" alt="rotifer" data-mce-source="Lyubov Shmakova" data-mce-caption="rotifer feeding." data-link="https://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/266744.php'from=505163"></p><p>After thawing, the rotifer was also able to reproducewhich it can do without a partner, scientists said in the study.&nbsp;</p><p>It suggests that these multicellular animals are can survive in a kind of icy holding pattern for tens of thousands of years.&nbsp;</p><p>"We revived animals that saw woolly mammoths," Stas Malavin from the Soil Cryology Laboratory in Russia, one of the authors of the study, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/07/science/frozen-rotifers-siberia.html">told The New York Times</a>.</p><p>The findings were <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(21)00624-2">published on Monday</a> in the peer-reviewed journal Current Biology.</p><p>Rotifers are among the toughest animals in the world, Malavin told Insider in an email, known for their resistance to extreme environments. They are among the<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2278216/"> most radiation-resistant animals on Earth</a>, and can endure extreme dehydration and low oxygen.</p><p>"If true, this would be an incredible result and extend the recorded ability of Bdelloid rotifers to survive freezing from 10 years to 30,000 years," Timothy Barraclough, a Professor of Evolutionary Biology who works on rotifers from the University of Oxford, told Insider.&nbsp;</p><p>However, he warned that it possible that the animals colonized the ice later than 24,000 years ago,&nbsp;or after the ice core was removed from the ground.&nbsp;</p><p>"I need a bit more persuading," he said.&nbsp;</p><p>These animals are not the oldest ever found to be able to survive freezing. In 2018, two parasitic worms known as nematodes were revived from <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/frozen-siberian-worms-revived-after-42000-years-2018-7">ice that was at least 30,000 years old</a>.</p><p>Understanding the biological mechanisms that drove the rotifers to survive such long periods of freezing could help scientists figure out how to better freeze tissues, such as human organs, <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-06/cp-arl060221.php">a press release accompanying the study said</a>.</p><p><em>"</em>The takeaway is that a multi cellular organism can be frozen and stored as such for thousands of years and then return back to lifea dream of many fiction writers,"&nbsp; Malavin said.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/animal-revived-after-24000-years-in-ice-could-reproduce-2021-6#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/navy-usns-comfort-hospital-ship-new-york-coronavirus-covid-19-2020-3">How the Navy's largest hospital ship can help with the coronavirus</a></p>
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