1,500-Year-Old Frozen Moss in Antarctica Brought Back to Life

Geo Beats
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An ancient kind of moss that had been buried for 15 hundred years was brought back to life by scientists and reportedly has new growth.

An ancient kind of moss that had been buried for 15 hundred years was brought back to life by scientists and reportedly has new growth.

A core sample was dug out of a huge area of moss on Signy Island in Antarctica by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey working with the University of Reading in England.

Peter Convey co-author of the study and terrestrial ecologist wrote: “These mosses were basically in a very long-term deep freeze. This timescale of survival and recovery is much, much longer than anything reported for them before.”

The moss samples were sent to the University of Reading for carbon dating, which placed them at approximately 15 hundred to 17 hundred years old.

The core sample was cut into various sections, dated and incubated while researchers documented their growth. The sections sprouted new growth at different rates, with the longest being a sample from three feet down that took 55 days.

Layers of moss grow on bird droppings in Antarctica and act as a way to keep track of the changing environmental conditions that happened in the past.

Other studies have also found frozen organisms in the ice that were able to come back to life thanks to cryopreservation caused by exposure to extremely low temperatures.

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