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Worms frozen in permafrost for up to 42,000 years come back to life

By The Siberian Times reporter
26 July 2018

Nematodes moving and eating again for the first time since the Pleistocene age in major scientific breakthrough, say experts.

Awake after 42,000 years... Picture: The Siberian Times

The roundworms from two areas of Siberia came back to life in Petri dishes, says a new scientific study. 

‘We have obtained the first data demonstrating the capability of multicellular organisms for longterm cryobiosis in permafrost deposits of the Arctic,’ states a report from Russian scientists from four institutions in collaboration with Princetown University.

Some 300 prehistoric worms were analysed - and two ‘were shown to contain viable nematodes’.

‘After being defrosted, the nematodes showed signs of life,’ said a report today from Yakutia, the area where the worms were found.

‘They started moving and eating.’ 

Worms frozen in permafrost for 42,000 years come back to life


Worms frozen in permafrost for 42,000 years come back to life


Worms frozen in permafrost for 42,000 years come back to life
Duvanny Yar and (in the middle) the nematodes. Pictures: Nikita Zimov, Doklady Biological Sciences/Pleiades Publishing


One worm came from an ancient squirrel burrow in a permafrost wall of the Duvanny Yar outcrop in the lower reaches of the Kolyma River - close to the site of Pleistocene Park which is seeking to recreate the Arctic habitat of the extinct woolly mammoth, according to the scientific article published in Doklady Biological Sciences this week. 

This is around 32,000 years old. 

Another was found in permafrost near Alazeya River in 2015, and is around 41,700 years old. 

Currently the nematodes are the oldest living animals on the planet.  

They are both believed to be female. 

Worms frozen in permafrost for 42,000 years come back to life


Worms frozen in permafrost for 42,000 years come back to life


Worms frozen in permafrost for 42,000 years come back to life


Worms frozen in permafrost for 42,000 years come back to life


Worms frozen in permafrost for 42,000 years come back to life

Duvanny Yar and Alazeya river marked on the map, Alazeya River, specialists of the Institite of Psycico-Chemical and Biological Problems and Soil Science in Moscow region


The worms came back to life in a laboratory at The Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science in Moscow region. 

The scientists say: “Our data demonstrate the ability of multicellular organisms to survive long-term (tens of thousands of years) cryobiosis under the conditions of natural cryoconservation. 

'It is obvious that this ability suggests that the Pleistocene nematodes have some adaptive mechanisms that may be of scientific and practical importance for the related fields of science, such as cryomedicine, cryobiology, and astrobiology.”

The Russian institutions involved in the pioneering research were: The Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science; Moscow State University; Pertsov White Sea Biological Station, part of Moscow State University; and the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.

The Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, was also involved. 

Comments (86)

How about body and soul concept? Do you think that the soul of those nematodes still exist in their body for thousands of years?
Abu Muafa, Indonesia
28/07/2018 13:00
2
20
We have in the US a really old political female officer- I think she is one of the nematodes. Ask the other nematode if it knows Nancy Pelosi.
Robert Powell, United States
28/07/2018 09:57
23
40
This is very scary in a sense. Things from the past shouldn't be brought to the now and future. Soon a real life jurassic world will erupt and so will the chaos. Hopefully I'm not around to see that chaotic life. This is VERY interesting though. A bit surreal.
James houston, United States
28/07/2018 09:43
10
20
That's great to know.
Thainia, New York USA
28/07/2018 09:26
1
1
The study is published in Doklady Biological Sciences - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1134%2FS0012496618030079
Laura, USA
28/07/2018 08:54
7
0
I say study the worms look in o there digestion ans what they will feed on, after the start to breed test to see there capabilitys maybe they bore wholes in patterns or glow. If nothing test them with fish and birds find what will happen if they consume the worms
Nathan Edmond, United states of america
28/07/2018 08:16
2
5
Hoping for one day , we can revive the dinosaurs...
Alireza, Eslami panbezari
28/07/2018 07:06
3
4
Dont believe everything you hear..Why hasn't this made main street media...Doubtful at best
Lyndell R Chup, Goshen In
28/07/2018 06:56
3
26
به امید زنده کردن موجودات گذشته دیگه از جمله دایناسورها
علیرضا, اسلامی
28/07/2018 06:56
4
2
Another way to interpret what we see - these nematodes were frozen in the tundra during the Ice Age which followed the great Flood, making them only about 4,000 years old. Still impressive, though.
Martin, Minnesota, USA
28/07/2018 06:32
5
76
Had anyone seen the series called The Strain????
It was about white worms. Very good series, so good I couldn't stop watching it on net flix. The truth is there is truth behind all of these movies. To me if you find something that old it needs to be destroyed. We don't need anything else on this planet that could cause outbreaks of diseases the Bible speaks that there will be new diseases that wipes out like a third of the population or maybe it's more so when you find things like that kill it and leave it alone.....people have issues to be interested in things they have no reason to even care about. I hate worms and if I found them I would crunch them with my shoe and I would care less if I was offered millions of dollars to keep them safe. Money is the root to all.evil and worms that old are evil and should be killed not saved. Al.you are doing is opening a box of worms. No pun intended....
Smart one, USA
28/07/2018 04:58
5
68
if tardigrades can do it why not nematodes? this is entirely possible with precedents known to science - the sceptics need to drag themselves out of their personal permafrost
boz, australia
28/07/2018 04:50
5
0
I can´t believe it, It's amazing! Imagine what things could this worms to tell us if they can speak!
Gladys Morrison, México
28/07/2018 04:17
2
4
This kinda sounds like garbage, but if it is real, ZOMBO APOCALYPSE!!!!!
Fakename Hoax, Anonymous, USA
28/07/2018 04:03
1
29
Whatever could happen it’s better than a Hillary apocolypse.
Dave, East Tennessee
28/07/2018 03:49
6
38

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