Back from the Dead: Scientists Revive 1600-Year-Old Antarctic Moss

Antarctic Moss

Scientists have revived a moss plant that was frozen beneath the Antarctic ice and seemingly lifeless since the days of Attila the Hun. Dug up from Antarctica, the simple moss was about 1,600 years old, black and looked dead. But when it was thawed in a British lab’s incubator — it grew again.

The moss was visibly greening with new shoots after three weeks, according to British Antarctic Survey ecologist Peter Convey. He said scientists didn’t do anything to make it grow except squirt it with distilled water. Convey said this may make scientists rethink what is dead and what’s not. And it’s the longest case of revival of a plant or animal from frozen limbo.

The study was published Monday in the journal Current Biology.

This report compiled with information from the Associated Press.