The Artful Amoeba

The Artful Amoeba

A Blog About the Weird Wonderfulness of Life on Earth

Defrosted Moss Sprouts Anew After 1,500 years in Antarctic Permafrost


2,000 year old moss core being excised on Signy Island. Image courtesy Peter Convey; Used with permission.

Last year I blogged about the surprising discovery that mosses released after 400 years of frozen glacial ensquashment had managed to survive and sprout new growth, a finding that radically altered our ideas about regrowth during the retreat of ice ages. Now, a new study in Current Biology pushes that back at least a millennium more with the discovery that mosses extracted from a permafrost moss bank in Antarctica's South Orkney Islands sprouted new growth after treatment no fancier than being placed in a sealed container under a light in a British lab.

I covered the story today for National Geographic Daily News; it's my first article for them, and you can read it here.


The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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