(This June 9 story is refiled to correct headline to clarify being is not a worm)
A microscopic organism has curled back to life and reproduced asexually after lying frozen in the large permafrost lands of northeastern Siberia for 24,000 years.
The Bdelloid rotor, a multicellular organism found in freshwater habitats around the world, is known to be able to withstand extreme cold.
Previous studies suggested it could survive for a decade when frozen at -20 degrees Celsius.
This new case, which was described in a study in the journal Current Biology, is by far the creature’s longest recorded survival period in the frozen state.
The organism was recovered from samples taken 3.5 meters underground. The study said the material was dated from between 23,960 and 24,485 years ago.
Land encased in permafrost – where the earth is frozen all year round – has for years thrown up surprising scientific discoveries.
Researchers revived earlier microscopic worms called nematodes from sediment in two places in northern Siberia that were dated over 30,000 years old.
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