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Scientists Revive Extinct Animal Found Stuck in Ice Age Permafrost

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In a story that seems to come right out of a sci-fi novel — or horror movie — scientists have brought a creature back to life that was frozen in permafrost for thousands of years. I’m sure you know the old question that applies here: “What could possibly go wrong?”

The creatures are microscopic roundworms called nematodes and they are a “new” species for our scientists today because they have never been seen before, likely because they were long extinct until now.

These tiny worms were found frozen in a batch of permafrost dug out of the ground near the Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia, Russia, Smithsonian Magazine reported.

But when scientists began looking at them through microscopes while investigating the frozen dirt, they realized that the nematodes weren’t dead, but only in a state of cryptobiosis, in which they had reduced their metabolism to a near halt to live through the cold winter weather.

Only the winter these nematodes lived through lasted 46,000 years!

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Scientists arrived at the age of their worms by radiocarbon dating the plant material found in the permafrost around the worms. They found that the worms are a member of a species unknown to science, which they named Panagrolaimus kolymaensis, after the Kolyma River site at which they were found.

Scientists have been studying nematodes and how long they can survive via cryptobiosis for years. But until now, the record was 39 years before they were unable to be revived.

Of course, the original worms brought up among the permafrost are really dead now because these creatures only live a few months at a time. But scientists bred the worms and are still studying the offspring of the originals.

The researchers say that the key to their long sleep was a sugar called trehalose which protects them from dehydration.

Is it a good idea to revive extinct animals?

So, why do this?

“The astonishing discovery is ‘important for the understanding of evolutionary processes because generation times could be stretched from days to millennia, and long-term survival of individuals of species can lead to the refoundation of otherwise extinct lineages,'” according to a study, Vice reported.

“We are now comparing them to species from the same genus, which my team samples around the world,” he added. “Studying their genomes we hope to understand a lot about how these populations became different in the last 40k years.”

Of course, we are also faced with another question here. Is it advisable to be reviving viruses, worms, and creatures that are long extinct? Is it advisable to re-introduce long gone creatures into a world not ready for them?

Are these scientists sure that these previously extinct creatures aren’t also bringing back diseases or viruses that we have no immunity to withstand?

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The science of bringing creatures back to life that were nearly dead for tens of thousands of years is very interesting, to be sure. But one has to wonder if it is really such a good idea.

Just because you can do a thing, does not mean you should.

Not all science is good science. Let’s hope smarter heads prevail with research such as that which brought back these 46,000-year-old nematodes.

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Warner Todd Huston has been writing editorials and news since 2001 but started his writing career penning articles about U.S. history back in the early 1990s. Huston has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business Network, CNN and several local Chicago news programs to discuss the issues of the day. Additionally, he is a regular guest on radio programs from coast to coast. Huston has also been a Breitbart News contributor since 2009. Warner works out of the Chicago area, a place he calls a "target-rich environment" for political news. Follow him on Truth Social at @WarnerToddHuston.
Warner Todd Huston has been writing editorials and news since 2001 but started his writing career penning articles about U.S. history back in the early 1990s. Huston has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business Network, CNN and several local Chicago news programs to discuss the issues of the day. Additionally, he is a regular guest on radio programs from coast to coast. Huston has also been a Breitbart News contributor since 2009. Warner works out of the Chicago area, a place he calls a "target-rich environment" for political news.




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