Animal Survives 24,000 Years Frozen In Arctic Permafrost

A tiny animal has survived after being frozen in the Siberian permafrost for 24,000 years frozen.

Russian scientists revived the microscopic animal, called the bdelloid rotifer, after discovering it in a core of frozen soil. They were extracting soil from the Alayeza River when they discovered multi-celled organism.

The research on the animal was published in the journal Current Biology. According to the research, the bdelloid rotifer spent 24,000 years frozen in a state of crytobiosis.


After thawing, the animal was able to reproduce asexually and was determined to be alive.

According to National Geographic, bdelloid rotifers are freshwater creatures that are known to reproduce asexually.

Article continues below

Our Featured Programs

See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!

They can be dried out, which triggers a dormant state, but when they’re rehydrated, they’re known to revive. However, no one knew quite how long they could be dormant for and maintain their ability to survive, but it seems it’s at least 24,000 years.

Photo: flickr/Ian Sutton

CNN reported that researcher Stas Malavin said that the new research offers “the hardest proof as of today that multicellular animals could withstand tens of thousands of years in cryptobiosis, the state of almost completely arrested metabolism.”

Malavin further shared his excitement for the discovering, saying, “a multicellular organism can be frozen and stored as such for thousands of years and then return back to life – a dream of many fiction writers.”

While it’s an incredible discovery in and of itself, it’s unlikely the same concept could apply to larger animals or life forms. The more complex the organism is, the harder it would be to preserve them by freezing.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Researchers wanted to discover how the bdelloid rotifer survived being frozen for so many years, and they discovered that the tiny animals could withstand the formation of ice crystals while slowly being frozen.

Most animals couldn’t survive such freezing, but it seems the bdelloid rotifers have a special mechanism that protects their cells and organs at extremely low temperatures.

Protect the Planet

Help preserve vital habitat at The Rainforest Site for free!