Moss Comes Back To Life After 1,500 Years

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 11:00 in Earth & Climate

Signy Island Ben Tullis via Wikimedia Commons Scientists drilled into the permafrost beneath an old moss bank on Signy, an island northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula, finding a bit of brown moss that had been frozen for more than 1,500 years, according to radiocarbon dating. Just to see what would happen, they put it under a light and misted it. After a couple of weeks, it sprouted and came back to life.   "It's basically the first record of anything regenerating of that sort of age," British Antarctic Survey researcher and study co-author Peter Convey told National Geographic. "There are records of microbes being pulled out of ice cores and permafrost, but nothing that's multicellular has ever been recorded to do it." The finding raises interesting questions: What if mosses and other plants could come back to life after being exposed following the...

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