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A microscopic animal has come back to life after being frozen for 24,000 years in Siberia and has managed to reproduce itself, Russian scientists announced.
A microscopic animal called bdeloid rotifer has come back to life after being frozen for 24,000 years in Siberia and has managed to reproduce, Russian scientists announced today.
The finding raises questions about the mechanisms used by this multicellular animal – which measures about half a millimeter in length and lives in freshwater environments – to withstand such a latency period, according to research co-author Stas Malavin.
According to Malavin, rotifers may be added to the list of multicellular organisms that appear to be able to survive indefinitely thanks to cryptobiosis, “a state in which metabolism is almost completely stopped.”
The scientific team collected samples from the Alazeia River in Siberia and used the radiocarbon dating method to determine that the age of these specimens is between 23,960 and 24,485 years.
Once thawed, the rotifer bdeloid managed to reproduce through parthenogenesis, a type of asexual reproduction in which the embryo develops without fertilization.
In other multicellular organisms, the case of a 30,000-year-old nematode worm that has resurrected has been previously reported. Mosses and plants also regenerate after thousands of years on ice.
The results of the discovery announced today were published in the journal Current Biology.
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