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
Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Local

NYPD: Suspect dead after two U.S. Marshals, cop…

A suspected sex offender died after a shooting at a West Village smoke shop that wounded two U.S. Marshals and an NYPD detective on Monday, officials said.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

Entertainment

'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' game easter eggs and cheats

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. Here are its best easter eggs as well as some tips and tricks to speed your way to the top.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.

Food

Zagat releases '30 Under 30' list

Zagat releases a list of the people changing the food and drink industry across the country.