Scientists claim to have found signs of life in two worms that originate from Siberian permafrost soils that occurred 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.
The discovery was made by a group of Russian scientists from four different institutions in Moscow working with Princeton University. The aim of the study was to find out whether multicellular organisms can be revived after prolonged laytime in extreme cold.
For this purpose, the group scoured the cold northeast of Russia and collected 300 samples of the ever-frozen subsurface soil, known as permafrost.
After collecting enough permafrost deposits from various ages and areas in Siberia, the group returned to the lab and attempted to revive organisms within the deposits. In the deposits, organisms known as soil nematodes were found, and the scientists tracked their progress after being extracted from their prehistoric, frozen whereabouts and finally noticed very positive results. [1
"We have obtained the first data demonstrating the ability of multicellular organisms to sustain long-term cryobiosis in Permafrost deposits in the Arctic," it states Report of the scientists published in the Doklady Biological Sciences Journal stated: "The duration of natural cryopreservation of the nematodes corresponds to the age of the deposits, 30,000-40,000 years."
Of all the samples, two separate, The researchers found one of the nematodes in the permafrost within a squirrel that had been dug into the surface of the Duvanny-Yar outcrop near the Siberian Kolyma River. This worm-like creature was in Preserves years in an environment dated around 32,000
The older of the two viable nematodes was found near Alazeya River, in one of the surroundings 41,700 years ago. The nematodes, identified as Rhabditida and Plectida are both considered female specimens of the species.
The process of reviving her millennia-old slumber began in a petri dish where scientists placed all the collected permafrost, split into 1-2 gram samples that are less than a tenth of an ounce, and then stored at -20 degrees Celsius were. The group then began to cultivate the samples at 20 degrees Celsius, looking for vital signs among all that had been buried and stunned in the prehistoric permafrost, but remained undead.
In two of the samples, the nematodes began to move and then eat the nutrients that scientists fed them. The group behind the project feels that their findings could now have important implications for many areas.
Read More: Has the sun gone beyond Siberia? Russians Want Replies to Dimming Mystery
"It is evident that this ability suggests that the Pleistocene nematodes have some adaptive mechanisms that are relevant to related fields of science, such as cryomedicine, cryobiology, and astrobiology," argue the Scientist.
However, the implications of the surviving microorganisms in the permafrost of the earth are not entirely positive. A recent article in the journal Scientific American warned that climate change and the thaw of permafrost could cause malignant organisms that carry diseases from thousands of years back to our environment.