Ancient Frozen Moss Revived
This is a picture of an Antarctic moss that started to grow again after being frozen for as long as 1,700 years.
A 4.5-foot-long core of frozen bank containing the plant, Chorisodontium aciphyllum, was taken from the South Orkney Islands in the Southern Ocean. Samples were exposed to daily light and temperatures that reached 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
The moss regenerated from the deepest part of the core thanks to a process called cryptobiosis, a state of suspended animation that allows some organisms to live indefinitely through extreme conditions.
British scientists reported the discovery this week in the journal Current Biology. Their finding extends the known time that organisms can remain in cryptobiosis. Previous studies had found that some plants could maintain a non-metabolic state for two decades at most.