The microscopic animal, called the bdelloid rotifer, survived in the Siberian permafrost for 24,000 years before resuming a normal life.
The scenario of this cryonics is worthy of a science fiction film. A team of scientists from the Soil Cryology Laboratory in Russia studied a microscopic animal species, the bdelloid, which survived in permafrost in Siberia for 24,000 years, reveals a study published on June 7, 2021 in the American scientific journal of cell biology Current Biology .
A species capable of putting its metabolism on hold for several thousand years
Taken 3.6 meters below the surface near the Alazeia River in northeastern Siberia, the bdelloids were brought to the surface for observation.
After thawing, the animal, about half a millimeter long, usually living in freshwater, came back to life. In a video published in the scientific journal, we can observe, thanks to a microscope, the bdelloïde move.
He was able to reproduce asexually using a self-cloning process called parthenogenesis and also began to eat normally.
The biological ability to put one’s life on hold for a long period in a frozen state raises many questions for scientists. « Our report is the strongest evidence to date that multicellular animals could endure tens of thousands of years in cryptobiosis, a state in which the metabolism is almost completely at a standstill, » said Stas Malavin, co-author of the study and member of the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Soil Problems in Pouchtchino (Russia).
This discovery in permafrost adds rotifers to the list of multicellular organisms capable of surviving indefinitely. » The bottom line is that a multicellular organism can be frozen and stored as such for thousands of years and then come back to life, a dream shared by many writers of fiction, » concludes Stas Malavin. .