We’ve all read sci-fi stories about being cryogenically frozen and then revived thousands of years later. Well, what about being accidentally frozen in Siberian permafrost? Well, that is exactly what happened to some hookworms. About 300 samples were found by scientists in the ice. When two of these tiny worms were defrosted in a petri dish, they began to move around and eat again.
One worm was found in a squirrel burrow close to the Kolyma River and is estimated to be around 37,000 years old. Another was found in the near the Alazeya River and is estimated to be around 41,700 years old. The ‘defrosting’ was carried out by The Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science. They believe that studying these worms may help us understand cryomedicine and cryobiology.
Some needed to be talked down from their knee-jerk negative reaction to this…
And for what reason? They did not live for a reason. The earth is smarter than us. Don’t overrule her.— Helen Driggs (@fabricationista) July 27, 2018
They did not die Helen. This was not a resurrection. They were in suspended animation- they enzymes were inactive. The fact that life can continue in ice for forty thousand years is remarkable and worth reporting. This could help progress several areas of research— Emma Mitchell (@silverpebble) July 27, 2018
Agreed. It is remarkable. But I can’t reconcile the need to bring things back vs. letting nature run its course. Perhaps those worms needed to stay in the ice for a time past our time? We are too small to know...— Helen Driggs (@fabricationista) July 27, 2018
Have you ever taken antibiotics Helen? If so you have chosen to not let nature take its course.— Emma Mitchell (@silverpebble) July 27, 2018
Elucidating the biochemistry of the cold-tolerant enzymes of these astonishing worms could allow us to freeze down organs for donation more effectively or revolutionise food storage
That is a good argument. I am equally curious and uneasy about reanimated life from 42,000 years ago. There are too many people on the planet now, so maybe trying to figure out how to keep them here longer by studying long gone animals is a mistake. That’s my take on it.— Helen Driggs (@fabricationista) July 27, 2018
Some wondered about the consequences…
Tomorrows Headline: Pleistocene Worm Flu out of control— Niall McAuley (@mcauley_niall) July 27, 2018
Let's hope it weren't these little guys who wiped out the dinosaurs.— MadeInTheSixties #PeoplesVote ?????? (@HawkwindsGong) July 27, 2018
I think I've seen this movie.— Missionbelle (@mission__belle) July 27, 2018
Every day, we dare nature to make a bad movie out of our lives.— NeilDeGrassyNicKnolltyHigh (@Hanksingle) July 27, 2018
Reading the comments brings to mind our Hollywood has messed with our minds...— Mallam Nasara (@segun_deleye) July 28, 2018
I can't help but imagine what would happen if it happens the worms harbour parasites of which we have never known and dangerous enough to wipe out our kind...
But there was still celebration of what the discovery may mean…
Likely to study as science had a very difficult time validating theories of the old world.— Marcus Liotta (Author) (@MarcusLiotta) July 27, 2018
Also, likely relates to a future with human stasis.
Traveling to the far reaches of space may actually require stasis/freezing.
And let’s be honest, one person who said what we all were thinking…
Mammoths next?— Jeff (@PatriotismOK) July 27, 2018
That would truly be a Jurassic Park moment.