Microscopic Animal Survives After Being Frozen For 24,000 Years In Siberia

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A microscopic animal that was frozen for 24,000 years in the Siberian Arctic returned to life, BBC reported.

The bdelloid rotifer was dug up by scientists in the Alayeza River in Siberia. Previous research suggested the maximum it could stay frozen was ten years, but a new study released Monday revealed the organism could survive for thousands of years. 24,000 years is the longest known case of rotifer survival, according to the study. (RELATED: Reindeer Herders Stumble Upon Partially Intact Woolly Mammoth Skeleton In Siberia)

The bdelloid rotifer is a microscopic multi-celled organism that is able to survive being frozen for millennia in a process known as crytobiosis, BBC reported. The organism reproduces asexually.

Bdelloid rotifers are known as wheel bearers and are a class of rotifer found in freshwater environments around the world, according to BBC. The organism is known to be able to endure extremes such as low oxygen, starvation and dehydration, BBC reported. They are also considered to be one of the planet’s most radioactive resilient organisms, the New York Times reported.

“The takeaway is that a multicellular organism can be frozen and stored as such for thousands of years and then return back to life – a dream of many fiction writers,” Stas Malavin, of Russia’s Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, told the Press Association.

Other organisms that have been identified as having the ability to come back to life after thousands of years include the nematode worm, in addition to some plants and mosses, BBC reported.

Malavin stated that scientists are not sure how the bdelloid rotifer achieves this resurrection and suggested the need for more studies to study it.