400-year-old plants: Bryophytes Returns To Life (Video)

By on Jun 3, 2013 in Amazing, Science Comments
400-year-old plants

Aulacomnium turgidum regenerated from
400-year-old plants

Credit: Live Science

Several 400-year-old plants that have been found by researchers from the University of Alberta reportedly resurrected back to life.

These icy plants called bryophytes were discovered at the Teardrop Glacier in the Canadian Arctic.

Bryophytes are plant species that “dried-out during long, cold winters and then come back to life after a time.” They were “extremophiles that survive in places where other plants don’t.”

The unusual thing about these plants was that they have endured 400 years under the icy Arctic environment and have shown signs of growing.

Catherine La Farge, researcher from the University of Alberta, revealed that they saw the 400-year-old plants with intact structures and green coloration.

The researcher explained that about four species were regenerated out of the 24 samples.

According to La Farge, “We know that bryophytes can remain dormant for many years (for example, in deserts) and then are reactivated, but nobody expected them to rejuvenate after nearly 400 years beneath a glacier. These simple, efficient plants, which have been around for more than 400 million years, have evolved a unique biology for optimal resilience. Any bryophyte cell can reprogram itself to initiate the development of an entire new plant. This is equivalent to stem cells in faunal systems.”

La Farge‘s team used radiocarbon dating to conclude that the plants were living from 400 to 600 years old.

The May 27th issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reportedly features the bryophyte research.

Below is a video of the 400-year-old plants.

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