A representational picture of the microscopic animal ‘Peloid rotifer’.
Gulf Today Report
A microscopic animal called the "Peloid rotifer" has come back to life after freezing for 24,000 years in Siberia and has since succeeded in cloning itself, Russian scientists said Monday.
Stas Malavin, who co-authored the research paper published in the journal Current Biology on this development, said that the discovery raised many questions about the mechanisms used by the multicellular animal to enable it to survive for such a long period.
"Our report is the strongest evidence to date that multicellular animals can survive tens of thousands of years in hibernation when their metabolism is almost completely stopped," said Malavin of the Institute of Physics, Chemistry and Biological Problems in Soil Sciences in Pushchino, Russia.
The research team used a drilling rig to collect samples from the Alaziya River in the Russian Arctic, then radiocarbon dating to determine that the sample's age ranged between 23,960 and 24,485 years.
They have previously determined that single-celled microbes are also capable of similar things.
With regard to multicellular organisms, there was a report of a 30,000-year-old nematode resurrecting, as well as algae and some plants that had been trapped for thousands of years in the ice.
Malavin added that rotifers can now be added to the list of organisms that can apparently survive indefinite periods. Once the ice melted, the animal was able to reproduce asexually through a process called parthenogenesis. Rotifers are about half a millimeter long, and they generally live in freshwater environments.
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