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SIC News | Microscopic animal resurrects and reproduces after being frozen for 24,000 years

A microscopic animal called a beloid rotifer has come back to life after being frozen for 24,000 years in Siberia and has reproduced successfully, Russian scientists said Monday.

The discovery raises questions about the mechanisms used by this multicellular animal, which is about half a millimeter in length and lives in freshwater environments, to withstand such a latency period, according to research co-author Stas Malavin.

Rotifers could be added to the list of multicellular organisms that appear to be able to survive indefinitely through cryptobiosis, “a state in which metabolism is almost completely stopped,” Malavin said.

The scientific team collected samples from the Alazeia River in Siberia and used the radiocarbon dating method to determine the age of these specimens between 23,960 and 24,485 years.

Once thawed, the bdelloid rotifer has successfully reproduced through parthenogenesis, a type of asexual reproduction in which the embryo develops without fertilization.

In other multicellular organisms, the case of a 30,000-year-old nematode worm that has been resurrected has already been reported. Mosses and plants also regenerate after thousands of years in ice.

Your results of the announced discovery were published in the scientific journal Current Biology.

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