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Ancient Knowledge & Archaeology

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After being preserved in Siberian permafrost for 24,000 years, a living animal of the same age has been discovered

Animal Discovered Alive After Being Preserved in Siberian Permafrost for 24,000 Years

A multicellular organism was preserved during the Upper Paleolithic period, about the time when humans first set foot in North America. Approximately 24,000 years later, after hibernating for millennia, it was discovered still alive.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 12, 2019 Melting permafrost tundra at the town of Quinhagak on the Yukon Delta in Alaska. – As far back as he can remember, Willard Church Jr. has gone out ice fishing well into the month of April, chopping holes that were easily four feet deep into the Kanektok River near his home. But the waterway that runs along the village of Quinhagak, in southwest Alaska, barely freezes now, a testament to the warming temperatures wreaking havoc on the state’s indigenous people and their subsistence way of life.
Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Animal Discovered Alive After Being Preserved in Siberian Permafrost for 24,000 Years

A multicellular organism was preserved during the Upper Paleolithic period, about the time when humans first set foot in North America. Approximately 24,000 years later, after hibernating for millennia, it was discovered still alive.

Description of the Bdelloid Rotifer

Freshwater Bdelloid rotifer are too small to view with the naked eye, measuring between 150 and 700 m. The microorganism is widespread throughout the world’s seas. According to Accuweather, this animal survived being frozen for several years by duplicating itself multiple times through a form of asexual reproduction known as parthenogenesis.

This discovery raised doubts regarding the reversible standstill lack of life theory and the cryptobiosis mechanism.

Researchers from the Soil Cryology Laboratory in Pushchino, Russia, made these discoveries. A soil sample collected from permafrost in northeastern Siberia revealed its existence.

This age discovery stunned the researcher, who found it hard to believe that the animal was still alive and thriving.

This creature’s permafrost sample was obtained from the Alazeya River, which runs from Siberia into the Arctic. Due to the ice nature of the substrate, researchers also proved that the bdelloid rotifer was immobile.

Research Results

“The conclusion is that a multicellular creature can be frozen, stored as such for thousands of years, and then brought back to life,” Malvin, one of the study’s authors, said.

He elaborated on the significance of this discovery and how it has fundamentally altered the philosophy of organism preservation.

This discovery may have been revolutionary and has added to the small number of species known to be capable of surviving such long periods of time, but more are still to be discovered.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the more complex an organism is, the more difficult it is to keep it alive, as is the case with mammals.

The frozen carcass of a 39,000-year-old female woolly mammoth named Yuka from the Siberian permafrost is displayed for an exhibition in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo, at a press preview before the opening. The carcass will be shown to the public during an exhibition at Pacifico Yokohama.

Other Organisms That Have Survived Extremely Long Periods of Time

A pair of prehistoric nematodes, often known as roundworms, were discovered and successfully resurrected in Russia; they are estimated to be between 30,000 and 42,000 years old.

Studies have proven that many organisms have been revived from their frozen form over the years, but what makes this latest discovery more intriguing is that none of the species revived in the past are as complicated as the bdelloid rotifer.

In addition, there have been finds of dead but frozen larger species, such as the 20,000-year-old woolly rhino discovered by a Siberian farmer in the Yakutia region in 2021, and the 57,000-year-old Pleistocene grey wolf puppy, the best-preserved animal of its kind.

Additional research must be conducted on this study. The goal is that discoveries from these microscopic organisms may shed light on how to cryopreserve the cells, tissues, and organs of other creatures, including humans, more effectively.

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