In a sample from the Siberian Alassiga River, they discovered young animals that shrunk their age to 23,960 to 24,485 years with the help of radiocarbon dating.
Once the ice thawed, the creatures were able to reproduce as virgins, meaning without a partner, researchers reported Monday in the journal “Current Biology.”
Can live indefinitely
Scientists had previously discovered single-celled microbes capable of similar performance. Nematodes, algae, and some plants that were 30,000 years old were regenerated in the ice after several thousand years.
Co-author of the study, Stas Malavin, said round animals can now be added to the list of organisms that can live seemingly indefinitely. The report is the strongest evidence to date that multicellular animals can survive for tens of thousands of years in blindness, a state in which metabolism is nearly dead.
Round animals are about half a millimeter long multicellular, which usually live in or around water. Malavin and his colleagues now want to know what mechanisms they use to survive their long “rest periods”.