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Frozen For 1,600 Years, Antarctic Moss Revived

March 18, 2014

By Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press

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WASHINGTON - Scientists have revived a moss plant that was frozen beneath the Antarctic ice and seemingly lifeless since the days of Attila the Hun.

Dug up from Antarctica, the simple moss was about 1,600 years old, black and looked dead. But when it was thawed in a British lab`s incubator, something happened. It grew again.

British Antarctic Survey ecologist Peter Convey said the moss was visibly greening with new shoots after three weeks. He said scientists didn`t do anything to make it grow except squirt it with distilled water.

Convey said this may make scientists rethink what is dead and what`s not. He said this is by far the longest case of revival of a plant or animal from frozen limbo.

The study was published Monday in the journal Current Biology.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Story Image: This image provided by the British Antarctic Survey shows a plant that scientists revived which was frozen beneath the Antarctic ice and seemingly lifeless since the days of Attila the Hun.(AP Photo/British Antarctic Survey, Esme Roads)

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