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

  • Gaza school shelled
    Israeli airstrikes topple a school in Gaza suspected of housing rockets; dozens killed
    Video
    Video
  • Ebola outbreak
    An American with Ebola virus died shortly after boarding three planes
    World News
  • Why dogs smell butts
    Researchers figure out why dogs like to smell each other's butts
    Pets
  • Time to stop tanning
    The surgeon general advises us not to tan as melanoma cases are on the rise
    Health News
  • Zimmerman lands dream job
    George Zimmerman lands his dream job as a security guard at a gun/motorcycle shop
    Headlines
  • 10 smartest states
    Here are the 10 most educated states in the U.S., did yours make the cut?
    US News

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>