Back from frozen limbo: 1,600 year-old Antarctic moss that seemed dead thawed and grows again

  • Article by: SETH BORENSTEIN , Associated Press
  • Updated: March 17, 2014 - 12:08 PM

WASHINGTON — Scientists have revived a moss plant that was frozen beneath the Antarctic ice and seemingly lifeless since the days of Attila the Hun.

Dug up from Antarctica, the simple moss was about 1,600 years old, black and looked dead. But when it was thawed in a British lab's incubator, something happened. It grew again.

British Antarctic Survey ecologist Peter Convey said the moss was visibly greening with new shoots after three weeks. He said scientists didn't do anything to make it grow except squirt it with distilled water.

Convey said this may make scientists rethink what is dead and what's not. He said this is by far the longest case of revival of a plant or animal from frozen limbo.

The study was published Monday in the journal Current Biology.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to be the next Twins manager?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close