According to a new study, ancient worms have been brought back to life after being preserved in permafrost for thousands of years.
The study was done in collaboration with the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State University, the Higher School of Economics, and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University. The researchers named in the study were A. V. Shatilovich, A. V. Tchesunov, T. V. Neretina, I. P. Grabarnik, S. V. Gubin, T. A. Vishnivetskaya, T. C. Onstott, and E. M. Rivkina. These researchers managed to bring ancient worms back to life in a laboratory at the Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science in the Moscow region, according to the Siberian Times.
Around 300 Siberian worms retrieved from permafrost were analyzed in a laboratory. From this group, two “were shown to contain viable nematodes.”
“After being defrosted, the nematodes showed signs of life, they started moving and eating,” it is reported.
The worms were identified as soil nematodes Panagrolaimus aff. detritophagus (Rhabditida) and Plectus aff. parvus (Plectida) in the study.
One worm, estimated to be 32,000-years-old, came from permafrost within an ancient squirrel burrow in the Duvanny Yar outcrop in the lower reaches of the Kolyma River. This location is not far from the site of Pleistocene Park, which is “seeking to recreate the Arctic habitat of the extinct woolly mammoth,” according to the Siberian Times.
The second reanimated worm was retrieved in 2015 and comes from the Alazeya River. It is estimated to be 41,700-years-old.
Both of these worms are believed to be female and came from the Yakutia region, which is considered the coldest area of Russia.
As a result of this study, scientific studies surrounding the likes of cryogenics will likely benefit from the breakthrough.
“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.”
Of course, for those that are into apocalyptic and doomsday scenarios, this news is anything but good.
“Worms frozen in permafrost for up to 42,000 years come back to life.”— Grady Booch (@Grady_Booch) July 26, 2018
First that sarcophagus and now this... https://t.co/budZufBmTU
For many, the news of reanimated ancient worms was a reminder that The X Files had already been there and explored that. Of course, in that episode of The X Files, the worms turned out to parasitic terrors that drove their hosts to violent fits of rage.
Parasitic worms frozen in Siberia since the Pleistocene age (up to 42,000 years ago) were brought back to life and are eating and moving around again. I think this was the plot for at least 3 episodes of the X-Files. https://t.co/dbqbrTOAFN— Mike Rundle (@flyosity) July 26, 2018
However, for others, the thought of a worm being reanimated after such a long period of time pointed directly to the advent of the zombie apocalypse.
"Worms frozen in permafrost for up to 42,000 years come back to life"— James (@Obscurica) July 26, 2018
Aaand that's a zombie apocalypse in progress.
As for now, though, those worrying about this being the end times because some ancient worms have been reanimated will just have to wait and see if their fears are founded or not.