Ancient Worms Frozen In Permafrost For 42,000 Years Are Reanimated And Everyone Thinks The Apocalypse Is Here

Rachel Tsoumbakos

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."