Moss comes back to Life after being Frozen under Antarctic Ice for over 1,500 Years
After being frozen for more than 1,500 years in Antarctic ice, moss can make a comeback to life. Well, a new research has showed for the first time that plants also have the ability to revive themselves after being frozen for thousands of years in ice.
A research team from the British Antarctic Survey and Reading University in England found that plants can survive much longer than previously thought. The team reached at the conclusion after regenerating frozen moss samples collected in Antarctica. They were able to do so by incubating core samples in a lab that started to grow in matter of few weeks.
"It's basically the first record of anything regenerating of that sort of age. 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", said Peter Convey, the study's coauthor.
Mosses are known as key players in the ecosystems of northern and southern Polar Regions. These are also the dominant plants across large areas.
Previous studies focused on the long-term survival of bacteria, but the latest was the first to describe the ability of plants to survive millennial-scale ice ages. Previously, it was believed that mosses are resilient plants and they are capable of surviving over 20 years in extreme conditions, but it was never thought by researchers that they actually underestimate the mosses as they could survive for hundreds of years.
Signy Island, located about 850 miles southeast of South America's Cape Horn, was the region the researchers chose to collect the moss. A 4.5-foot core of moss was collected to slice lengthwise into 8-inch pieces. Then, all that researchers did was incubation, which showed that the mosses in the specimen's core began to grow in just few weeks.