Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Science & Space

Antarctic moss comes back to life after 1,500 years

See also

Peter Convey of the British Antarctic Survey and colleagues from the University of Reading reported the growth of Antarctic moss that had been frozen for 1,500 years in the March, 17, 2014, issue of the journal Current Biology.

This discovery is the oldest known natural revitalization of any plant. The researchers only brought the moss to the surface of the Earth and exposed the moss to light and air. Revitalization of plants has been seen in plants that were frozen for 20 years but no plant of this age has ever been known to begin to grow before now.

The moss was extracted from core samples taken from Signy Island in the South Orkney Islands of Antarctica. The moss banks of Signy Island are over 6,000 years old.

The discovery indicates that moss survived the multiple freezing and thawing events of the last 6,000 years and probably for thousands of years before.

The regeneration of moss that had been frozen for 1,500 years provides hope that the receding ice in the Antarctic and Arctic regions of the Earth may produce a new plant source that could mitigate some of the carbon dioxide produced by man. Mosses store and fix carbon and may act as a carbon sink in the future.

Advertisement

News

  •  Day 17
    Israel continues their ravaging bombardment on Gaza as the conflict wages on
    Video
    Video
  • MH17 victims arrive home
    40 bodies of the MH17 plane crash return to a somber homecoming in Holland
    Top News
  • Military advisers to Ukraine
    President Obama announces the deployment of military advisers to Ukraine
    Politics
  • Bubonic plague in China
    A bubonic plague outbreak in Yumen prompts China to quarantine the city
    World News
  • Air Algierie disappearance
    A flight headed from Burkina Faso to Algeria disappears from radar over Mali
    Headlines
  • Windows Phone training portal
    Microsoft launches Windows Phone training portal in attempt to woo consumers
    Tech

Related Videos:

  • Buzz Aldrin and the American flag on the moon
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/O4KxesvbiMU?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Orbital Sciences rocket brings supplies and experiments to space station
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518318477" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518318477&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Liftoff Apollo 11
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zGNryrsT7OI?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>