Scientists revived a tiny worm-like animal after 24,000 years frozen in Siberian ice. It was still able to eat and reproduce.

An annotated picture of a rotifer.

  • Scientists were able to revive a tiny-worm like organism found in 24,000 year old Siberian ice.
  • The worm was able to eat and reproduce after thawing.
  • The findings could provide clues into how to freeze multi-cellular tissues like organs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Russian scientists have been able to revive a tiny animal called a Bdelloid rotifer that was found in Siberian ice dating back 24,000 years.

After thawing, the tiny worm-like organism was capable of eating when fed, as can be seen in the video below.

The rotifer was able to feed after being thawed from the ice.

After thawing, the rotifer was also able to reproduce – which it can do without a partner, scientists said in the study.

It suggests that these multicellular animals are can survive in a kind of icy holding pattern for tens of thousands of years.

“We revived animals that saw woolly mammoths,” Stas Malavin from the Soil Cryology Laboratory in Russia, one of the authors of the study, told The New York Times.

The findings were published on Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Current Biology.

Rotifers are among the toughest animals in the world, Malavin told Insider in an email, known for their resistance to extreme environments. They are among the most radiation-resistant animals on Earth, and can endure extreme dehydration and low oxygen.

“If true, this would be an incredible result and extend the recorded ability of Bdelloid rotifers to survive freezing from 10 years to 30,000 years,” Timothy Barraclough, a Professor of Evolutionary Biology who works on rotifers from the University of Oxford, told Insider.

However, he warned that it possible that the animals colonized the ice later than 24,000 years ago, or after the ice core was removed from the ground.

“I need a bit more persuading,” he said.

These animals are not the oldest ever found to be able to survive freezing. In 2018, two parasitic worms known as nematodes were revived from ice that was at least 30,000 years old.

Understanding the biological mechanisms that drove the rotifers to survive such long periods of freezing could help scientists figure out how to better freeze tissues, such as human organs, a press release accompanying the study said.

The takeaway is that a multi cellular organism can be frozen and stored as such for thousands of years and then return back to life – a dream of many fiction writers,” Malavin said.

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How to find water when you’re stuck in the desert

  • The human body can survive for about three days without water, which can be extremely hard to find in hot desert climates.
  • If you’re ever lost in a desert, knowing how to quickly find water is key to your survival. 
  • Water flows down, so check low terrain. Canyons and mountain bases could be home to a water source.
  • Fruits, vegetables, cacti, and roots all contain water and mashing them with a rock will release some liquid.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. 

Following is a transcript of the video.

The human body can survive for about three days without water, which can be extremely hard to find in hot desert climates.

Look for signs of life if you can’t find a water source. Vegetation, birds, and insects can all mean a nearby water source. Fruits, vegetables, cacti, and roots all contain water and mashing them with a rock will release some liquid.

Water flows down, so check low terrain. Canyons and mountain bases could be home to a water source.

Morning dew can be collected with a cloth and then wrung out into your mouth.Just make sure you collect it before sunrise or it will evaporate before you can get it. Use cups or any other container to catch rainfall. If possible, build a water-catching tarp. This will allow even more water to be collected.

Look for damp ground, vegetation, and dry river beds. These things can all indicate underground water. If you dig a hole a few feet deep nearby, it’s likely water will seep in. If possible, always filter the water. But if you have to choose between dehydration and unfiltered water – take your chances with the water.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published on May 12, 2017.

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What if you survived the apocalypse?

  • Surviving the apocalypse is the first step, but what’s next?
  • Head to the grocery stores, hospitals, and pharmacies to stock up on supplies.
  • Move out of the city and start a new life in the great outdoors.
  • Then start re-building your life. Settle near fresh water, but not too close to rivers, forage for heirloom seeds, and search for solar panels with big batteries. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: The virus was swift and deadly. After emerging near your home in New York City, it spread. First to London, then to Tokyo, eventually wiping out more than 99% of the global population. But you … you were lucky. You were one of the few thousand people on Earth with immunity who survived. So, now what?

Your first step is to stock up. An average midsize supermarket can sustain one person for about 55 years. 63, if you’re cool with eating the cat and dog food. As you scan the aisles, look for canned food, some of which can last for up to several decades, and bottled water. Because once the power grid goes down, your municipal water supply will run dry in a matter of weeks or even days.

You’ll also want to grab some superglue in case you get injured. It can easily seal wounds in the absence of stitches. And make sure to hit up hospitals, pharmacies, and even vet offices for antibiotics and pain killers. Vets treat animals with many of the same medicines that we use for humans, such as the pain reliever hydrocodone and the antibiotic doxycycline.

Once you’re packed, you’ll want to hit the road. Because without electricity to cool the fuel inside nuclear reactors, pressure could build up and cause the reactor’s containment building to fail. Especially if it’s old or it was poorly maintained. And that could release toxic radiation within a 50-mile radius or greater. And even if your city or town isn’t near one of these plants, you’ll still want to seek isolation. Because in the aftermath of the apocalypse, there will be decaying corpses strewn about the streets. Oh, yeah. It’s gonna stink. But they’ll also attract animal scavengers and infectious bacteria that could harm or kill you if you get too close.

So, yeah, a country home is looking pretty good right now. Though it’ll be tough to figure out exactly where to settle. You’ll need to be close to fresh water but also far away from major rivers, because many dams could eventually collapse without anyone to maintain them. You’ll also want to be near fertile soil so you can grow your own food once your grocery supply runs out. And, of course, you’ll want to be at least 50 miles from a nuclear power plant. So somewhere north of Edison, New Jersey, would probably be a good bet.

After settling in, you’ll need a steady supply of drinking water. So it’s a good thing purifying creek or lake water is surprisingly easy. You can bring it to a boil, fill up clear plastic water bottles no larger than a liter and stick them in direct sunlight for at least six hours, or add a few drops of a 5% liquid bleach solution to a liter of water. But farming your own food would be a lot tougher. If you’re able to scavenge a gun or a bow and arrow, you could hunt. There are over 100,000 deer in New Jersey, which is more than 11 per square mile. And each one could keep you satisfied for two weeks or more.

But wouldn’t it be easier just to farm? Assuming you could plant the right crops, yes. Corn, for example, might be everywhere. But many modern varieties are hybrids and often can’t reproduce on their own, so they won’t grow from one year to the next. That’s why you’ll want to scavenge seeds of heirloom crops, which reproduce naturally. Try searching small farms, backyard gardens, and garden centers for beans, potatoes, and some kind of leafy green. That way you’ll have a supply of protein, carbs, and lots of vitamins.

Now, with crops in the ground, things will be looking up. You know, relative to life in post-apocalyptic times. But you know what would make it better? Electricity. You could store perishable foods, like the deer you killed. Not to mention have light, heat, running water, and whatever else might help you live more comfortably. At first, you can scavenge motor generators from roadwork or construction sites and siphon gasoline out of abandoned cars to power them. But eventually you’ll want to nab some solar panels along with big batteries to store the power they produce. Abandoned golf carts might be a good place to look. They’re powered by deep-cycle lead-acid batteries, which you can discharge many times without significantly shortening their lifespan.

Aah. Now you can finally relax. All that’s left is repopulating the planet.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in February 2020.

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