Wheeled animals look fragile but can starve, tolerate very low levels of oxygen, and dehydrate, and now a new discovery shows they can also survive for a very long time in a frozen state.
Russian researchers from the Institute of Physics, Chemistry and Problem Biology in Soil Sciences south of Moscow analyzed drill cores from permafrost in northeastern Siberia. They found about a dozen animals with wheels about 1 mm in size and invertebrates.
It survives 80 degrees below zero
The carbon 14 method shows that the lifespan of animals ranges from 23,960 years to 24,485 years. Researchers present their discovery this week current biology.
It has long been known that animals with wheels can survive temperatures of minus 80 degrees Celsius, but this does not mean that they can survive for long, says Ulf Gundelius, professor of invertebrates at the Swedish Museum of History. natural.
It was frozen during the Ice Age
When the wheeled animals were frozen, it was still an ice age and according to the study, there is no indication that the ground they were placed in was ever thawed.
When wheeled animals go into hibernation, they stop their biological clock completely, and animals that then come back to life are just as energetic as they were before hibernation, says Ulf Gundelius.
Thus, not all individuals who are exposed to extreme conditions usually live, but those who are awake and awake as before.
Wheeled animals are also protected by a shield-like sheath called the cuticle. When wheeled animals go into hibernation, they reorganize their functions so that they can survive under extreme conditions.
Woke up and doubled
When the wheeled animals woke up from their 24,000-year-old slumber, they laid eggs. These wheeled animals are asexual and reproduce asexually. So their offspring are clones of themselves.
The researchers wanted to see if Ice Age clones were better adapted to the cold than today’s wheeled animals. So it was frozen for seven days and then thawed again. The researchers counted the number of survivors from the treatment. It turns out that they were no more tolerant of cold than today’s wheeled animals.
What happened to the Ice Age survivors after that? When they started ticking their biological clock again after their long hibernation, they lived an average of one month.
Watch a peppy 24,000-year-old in the clip above.