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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 (91)

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. are doing is opening a box of worms. No pun intended....
Smart one, USA
28/07/2018 04:58
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
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
This kinda sounds like garbage, but if it is real, ZOMBO APOCALYPSE!!!!!
Fakename Hoax, Anonymous, USA
28/07/2018 04:03
Whatever could happen it’s better than a Hillary apocolypse.
Dave, East Tennessee
28/07/2018 03:49
What are they eating? The same things that 'modern' worms are eating now? How did they know that it would eat the same thing? The earth is so much different (obviously) from 40K years ago...they could have been eating something that is no longer available....
AJ Tillcomb, USA
28/07/2018 03:48
Death really is only the beginning after all.. it's sorta similar to being asleep and/or being place into cryosleep,, everything shuts down to it's bear minimal but the mind which is always awake inside of the dream world Nexus..
Johnny Hadnot, Orlando,Fl
28/07/2018 03:47
Oh hellz no! Once something is dead, its DEAD, non-living. And people wonder why the world is changing for the worse.
Jamooka, United States
28/07/2018 02:59
Didn't this happen on the xfiles? It didn't turn out good for the scientists
Dustin, Florida
28/07/2018 02:21
I do not think so.
D.bigham, USA
28/07/2018 02:10
We all die when it's our time plan and simple,
King, J.c.
28/07/2018 02:03
Great, let’s find out what characteristics these worms have and apply them to humans. Then we can all live The Walking Dead.
Eddie, Los Angeles
28/07/2018 01:54
You people are way to gullible if you all really believe this happened. Lol
Justin , U.S.A.
28/07/2018 01:42
This means the dreaded Hillary could return in 40,000 year's, yikes
Gerg, Usa
28/07/2018 01:11
Zombies comin 4sho
Bob johnson, Toepika usa
28/07/2018 00:24

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