Ice Age Flower – Fruit tissue found from a squirrels burrow buried in permafrost since the last ice age contained enough genetic material for scientists to recreate to ancient flower that had long been extinct.
The burrow was found in Siberia and it is believed the material was buried there over 30,000 years ago. The team of Russian scientist that recreated the plant said it is named the Silene stenophylla and produces white flowers and seeds.
Svetlana Yashina of the Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy Of Sciences, told the AP, “It’s a very viable plant, and it adapts really well.”
The recreation of the ice age flower is the oldest plant to ever be re-created and has opened up a new form of researching ancient life forms.
“We consider it essential to continue permafrost studies in search of an ancient genetic pool, that of pre-existing life, which hypothetically has long since vanished from the earth’s surface,” the scientists said in the article.
Researcher Stanislav Gubin, said “The squirrels dug the frozen ground to build their burrows, which are about the size of a soccer ball, putting in hay first and then animal fur for a perfect storage chamber, It’s a natural cryobank.”
After the experiment proved that genetic material can be reproduced after being frozen for several thousands of years, Gubin was exited about what that could mean for other possibilities.
“If we are lucky, we can find some frozen squirrel tissue,” Gubin told the AP. “And this path could lead us all the way to mammoth.”
Ironically a Japenese team is currently searching the area of the permafrost for a mammoth body.
“It’s our land, we will try to get them first,” Gubin said.