News & Opinion | July 31, 2018 12:14 pm

These Creepy Worms Survived More Than 30,000 Years In Permafrost

Once thawed, they all started eating.

About 30,000 years ago, in what is now known as Siberia, a ground squirrel burrowed out a spot in the ground and filled it with seeds and other grassy and fruited plants to eat. Now, the place where the squirrel chose to make its burrow is close to 100 feet below the surface and in a layer of permafrost, writes Atlas Obscura. 

The squirrel is long gone, but tiny roundworms, a type of nematode, that also made their home there have lasted those tens of thousands of years. The worms, all female, were frozen and immobile in the permafrost but now, scientists in Russia have revived them. They are the first multi-cellular organisms to have survived being frozen in Arctic permafrost.

The samples contained two different types of roundworms, Panagrolaimus detritophagus and Plectus parvus, according to Atlas Obscura, and once they were thawed out, the worms just started eating and moving, which is basically all that ringworms do.