A wide variety of animals can melt from permafrost due to global warming.
Russian researchers have found 24 thousand-year-old frozen beetles (Bdelloidea rotifera) in Siberian permafrost that can reproduce after thawing. Biologists say microscopic-sized, worm-like creatures are evolutionary specialties as they thrive and reproduce without mating for millions of years. It has now been shown that they have been preserved in the Siberian permafrost, or permanently frozen soil, for at least 24,000 years and are capable of reproduction, the British newspaper The Guardian wrote online.
These multicellular invertebrates are exclusively females. They are known to be resistant to radiation and a rather unfriendly environment – drought, hunger and low oxygen levels. They have existed for at least 35 million years and are still found today in freshwater lakes, smaller stagnant waters, rivers, and wet terrestrial habitats such as moss, lichen, bark, and soil. Swallowing wheelworms have a complete digestive system, including the mouth and anus, and are able to survive the cruel environment by ceasing all activities and almost completely stopping their metabolism. This phenomenon is cryptobiosis. Stasz Malavin, a colleague and colleagues at the cryology laboratory of the Institute of Soil Science in Pushkin, Russia, determined by radiocarbon dating that roundworms in samples taken from the Arctic were about 24,000 years old. These organisms could now live under the feet of extinct creatures such as the woolly rhinoceros.
After thawing under laboratory conditions, the wheelworms were able to reproduce, the scientists said in a study published in the scientific journal Current Biology. Experts do not yet know the biological mechanism that allows these tiny creatures to survive in the ice for such a long time. Matthew Cobb, a professor of zoology at the University of Manchester who did not take part in the study, highlighted the research highlights how many different animals can be frozen in permafrost that can thaw as a result of global warming. “This doesn’t mean terrible creatures will come out and devour us, but it will be an opportunity for scientists to study how wheelworms have adapted to the effects of freezing and to discover the difference between now-living species and their extinct predecessors,” the researcher said. .
Source: Népszava by nepszava.hu.
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