Bdelloid rotifer, a microscopic, multicellular creature, has been discovered frozen in Siberia for more than 240 centuries. The worm-like animal were able to reproduce even after spending 24 millennia in a deep freeze of 14 degrees Fahrenheit.Looking like translucent worms, rotifers typically resides in freshwater or moist soil. The creatures are famous for their toughness and resilience to radiation, low oxygen levels, dehydration, acidity, starvation, and freezing cold, which have been elevated to new levels with recent findings. The animals were discovered 11.5 ft. deep in permafrost near the Alazeya River in Siberia, confirmed to be 24,000 years old thanks to radiocarbon dating analysis of the surrounding soil. Stas Malavin, co-author of the study, revealed, “We revived animals that saw woolly mammoths, which is quite impressive.”
A petri dish with a suitable medium was used to “revive” the rotifers, as scientists waited for the surviving ones to recover from their dormancy and start to move and reproduce – the creatures are restricted to asexual reproduction, and there are no males.
To bring the rotifers back to life, scientists put the frozen organisms in a petri dish with a suitable medium. They waited for the surviving rotifers to recover from their dormancy and begin to move and reproduce. (Bdelloid rotifers are limited to asexual reproduction, however there are no males.)
This is the second time scientists have brought back creatures from ice, as they found a 40,000-year-old roundworms in the same location. Ancient moss, bacteria and viruses has proved remarkable longevity within ice, sparkling concern related to how toxic pathogens can escape as glaciers and permafrost are melted due to climate change.
Scientists note that there are possibly more kinds of frozen creatures hidden within icebergs, and they are scrutinizing into how they will interact with our habitats once they’re thawed, to study both helpful and detrimental effects. This isn’t the first time scientists have revived creatures from ice. Previously, the team discovered 40,000-year-old roundworms in the same area.
Ancient moss, bacteria, and viruses have also shown surprising longevity on ice, prompting concern that harmful pathogens may be released as climate change causes glaciers and permafrost to melt.
It’s likely there are many more species of tiny animals frozen in the ice. How these organisms will react with our environment if they’re unfrozen has yet to be discovered, but researchers are looking into it.
Despite their microscopic size, bdelloid rotifers have brains, guts, muscles, and reproductive systems just like us. Bdelloid rotifers have enough organs, similar to that of humans, including brains, guts, muscles and of course, reproductive systems, in spite of their microscopic size. “The takeaway is that a multicellular organism can be frozen and stored, as such for thousands of years and then return back to life — a dream of many fiction writers,” states Malavin.
Scientists are looking forward to gain more knowledge in the field of cryogenics upon learning the unique capacity to remain dormant for millennia. A number of them expect that this would provide an insight into carrying out such things with complex life forms like human, yet for now a long way remains ahead.
“The more complex the organism, the trickier it is to preserve it alive frozen and, for mammals, it’s not currently possible,” continued Malavin. “Yet, moving from a single-celled organism to an organism with a gut and brain, though microscopic, is a big step forward.”