Antarctic moss entombed in ice revived by scientists

Via Metro World News
Via Metro World News

Here’s proof that life after death does exist — if you happen to be 1,500-year-old moss found beneath the Antarctic permafrost. Prof. Peter Convey, one of the British Antarctic Survey scientists behind this recent discovery, said that “it puts back the confirmed length of time that plant life can survive from two decades to over 1,500 years.”

The finding follows on the news earlier this month of a group of French scientists reviving a 30,000-year-old virus in an icy region of Siberia.

Metro: With first the Siberian virus and now the Antarctic moss, is there any potential danger with this kind of unearthing?

Convey: The sort of doomsday scenario of some strange unknown disease leaping out and getting everybody has a vanishingly small probability to it.

Just the stuff of sci-fi movies. How did the moss survive for over 1,500 years?

In principle, it was stuck in a very long-term deep freeze. It’s a bit like the “best before” food analogy: there are some things that must definitely be eaten before a date because there are potential health dangers. Whereas other things should ideally be eaten before the specified date, but it doesn’t actually pose any threat. It’s the same with organisms that survive being frozen (cryptobiosis): once the plant is in a stress-tolerant state (i.e. ‘frozen’) they’re just in a declining curve of survival.

How long could moss plants survive for?

The bank we drilled and took a core from was 1.5 meters deep and at the base, the moss is probably 2,000 years, so I would speculate that the moss at the deepest bank – 5 meters or so – is 5,000 years old.

Could that be recovered?

Yes, because other than being a little deeper, it’s the same species and has the same permafrost conditions. If we can get a core, I don’t see any reason why plant life shouldn’t be recovered from that.

Could animals or larger species be discovered?

More carefully-designed studies could conceivably find animals alive. We know that small invertebrates can do well. Fewer large invertebrates are capable of survival and even fewer large vertebrates (species with a backbone) have that ability. However, cold tolerant frogs that live in northern Canada can withstand ice crystals forming both internally and externally. But you can’t go bigger than that kind of vertebrate.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…