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Scientists Resurrect 1,500-Year-Old Moss

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posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Despite being frozen in ice for over a millennium, the ancient moss started to grow after being thawed.

Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey collected samples of the moss from the depths of the Antarctic permafrost and placed them in to an incubator at a temperature similar to that of the conditions experienced by live specimens in the summer.

To their surprise the moss started to grow new shoots within just three weeks, making this the oldest frozen plant to ever be resurrected. Previous efforts to accomplish the same thing had succeeded only in thawing moss that had been frozen for less than 20 years.

"Various people have asked us did we do anything complicated to make it re-grow," said study co-author Prof Peter Convey. "We've basically just cut it in half and put in the incubator and did as little as possible."

The team will now be looking to determine whether it will be possible to revive moss that has been frozen for even longer, with the oldest known samples dating back over 5,000 years.


This is amazing. I wonder with the ice caps melting,what else they will find in the depths of the Antarctic permafrost. Scientists discover new species in the depths of the ocean still. The Antarctic has always fascinated me. I'd love to see them dig deeper.
I also wonder how this moss managed to come back to life after 1,500 years. Mother Earth never ceases to amaze me.

posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 09:09 AM
reply to post by Rainbowresidue

Could be that the conditions in which it was found, rendered the moss into some sort of simplistic suspended animation. The stuff must be tougher than air craft carrier hull to come back after spending that long, literally on ice though. Great stuff!

I wonder if there will be any research into this sort of moss, in order to see if its genetic information, specifically the parts of the data which pertain to its hardihood, will be investigated to see if there are any potential uses for it in the field of genetically modified crops? Although I disagree with the idea of growing GM crops in a standard farm setting ( I think they should be restricted to closed off labs, which prevent the spread of the genes to other fields of crops nearby) and the consumption of GM foods, the research itself is interesting.

posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 09:26 AM
reply to post by Rainbowresidue

One comment below the linked article simply says, "The Thing".

Let it out…

posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 10:25 AM
More information and original work from Professor Convey at bottom of article.

posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 10:39 AM
reply to post by Caver78

Thanks for the link.

posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 10:43 AM
Someone once thought Kudzu was a good idea too...

I just don't think we should be messing with this sort of thing.

posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 10:51 AM
reply to post by Rainbowresidue

For those who wanna see a picture of the moss look here
Scroll a little bit down on that site

After only weeks in carefully controlled temperature and light conditions, the moss started to sprout and grow


edit on 19/3/14 by D0MiNAT0R 1OOO because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 10:55 AM
reply to post by D0MiNAT0R 1OOO

Thank you very much for the great photo D0MiNAT0R.

Here it is:

posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 11:03 AM
Reminds me of moss graffiti

You should try it, its fun..

moss is interesting really interesting takes copper sulphate to kill it..

posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 01:19 PM
reply to post by Rainbowresidue

What's all the hype about 1500 year old moss growing? It was dormant.

It's the same as 'Svalbard Global Seed Vault' where they have 1000's of seeds in deep freeze. The seeds are dormant. Otherwise it would be a costly waste of space, time, money if the seed would not grow.

posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 02:24 PM
reply to post by Famouszor

There's no hype my friend, just sharing some news.I for one thought it was interesting, that's all.

posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 02:36 PM
moss from a tree

posted on Mar, 19 2014 @ 03:53 PM
It IS interesting RR !
For all we know it contains compounds that can cure something? It's also sobering to note plenty of life is probably dormant so when we trash our little hamster cage life will go on.

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