A new study provides the strongest evidence to date that these multicellular creatures can withstand tens of thousands of years in cryptobiosis , the almost completely stopped state of metabolism.
This is the case of bdelloid rotifers , which can survive in a state of suspended animation for at least 24,000 years. Once thawed, the rotifer, which belongs to the genus Adineta, was able to reproduce in a clonal process known as parthenogenesis.
Researchers at the Soil Cryology Laboratory of the Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science in Pushchino (Russia) specialize in the isolation of microscopic organisms from the ancient permafrost of Siberia.
The researchers used radiocarbon dating to determine that the rotifers they recovered from permafrost were about 24,000 years old . According to lead researcher Stas Malavin:
The bottom line is that a multicellular organism can be frozen and stored as such for thousands of years and then come back to life, the dream of many fiction writers. Of course, the more complex the organism, the more difficult it will be to keep it alive frozen and, in the case of mammals, this is not currently possible. However, going from a unicellular organism to an organism with a gut and a brain, even if it is microscopic, is a great step forward.
Rotifers are a group of animals of which there are more than 2,000 species, which are adapted to live especially in humid environments: mosses, lichens, bodies of fresh or salt water and also soils with humidity.