As the permafrost melts, rotifers, tiny creatures that have resisted in the ice for thousands of years, are re-entering the ecosystem.
Miniature multicellular organisms called rotifers have long been the subject of scientific research. It is well known that they can withstand extreme conditions, such as liquid nitrogen, boiling, and even exposure to radiation. Now, researchers have found evidence of the existence of these creatures for more than 24,000 years in pergelisol (permafrost) in the frozen regions of Siberia, which constitutes the survival record of this species.
The same scientist found evidence of a worm that is more than 40,000 years old in the same area. These two findings have reignited the debate about whether the thawing of these areas will not release pathogens that harm humans or other organisms into the environment. On the other hand, it is necessary to understand how these re-entries will affect the balance that exists in today’s ecosystem.
Researchers at the Russian Pszczno Soil Cryocology Laboratory have been analyzing ancient organisms in Siberian permafrost samples for about ten years, and are carrying out radiocarbon dating methods in the field.Cultivation of soil samples is a time-consuming process, and it takes about a month to discover the “age” of rotifers, explained Technology CompanyThe team also used DNA analysis to rule out the possibility of infection due to sample contact with “modern” organisms, and concluded that this hypothesis is extremely unlikely.
The investigation continued to test the extent to which the rotifers could resist the freezing process and regain life, and concluded that not all clones survived. However, it was found that rotifers survived a slow freezing process that lasted about 45 minutes and formed ice crystals in the cells of living organisms. This process is usually catastrophic and fatal for other species.
The team intends to continue to gain more experience.