Give Now

A Moment of Science

Bringing The Dead Back To Life?

Recently, scientists were able to revitalize a bacteria that's been dead for over 120,000 years! Are humans next?

A huanted cemetary in Connecticut.

Photo: Rob Fromwell (Flickr)

Through incubation, scientists at Penn State were able to revitalize an organisms that had long been dead.

Is it possible to bring the dead back to life?

Maybe not, but scientists at Penn State University have done the next best thing. They found a tiny bacterium that’s been trapped miles below Greenland ice sheets for the past 120,000 years.

After months of incubation, the bacterium woke up and began reproducing. Before long, the ancient organism was once again thriving.

From Microbes To Zombies

Don’t be alarmed. Unlike what may happen in a science fiction thriller, the bacterium isn’t some deadly microbe that’s going to turn us all into zombies. Apparently, it’s a very small, simple microbe not very different from billions of others that have lived on earth.

What’s interesting about the microbe is: A) how it managed to survive for so long beneath the ice; and B) what it suggests about the possibility of life on other planets.

Life On Other Planets?

The researchers think that the bacterium’s small size might have helped it survive in microscopic, watery veins in ice crystals. Being small may also have helped the microbe absorb nutrients more efficiently.

As for life on other planets, scientists have long suspected that if there is life out there, it might exist buried far beneath a planet’s barren surface. So every time scientists find a microbe able to survive under extreme conditions on Earth, it raises the hope that the same might be the case on other worlds.

  • Anonymous

    if only they was a way to bring a loved 1 bk en foa aday

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from A Moment of Science:

Support for Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science

Search A Moment of Science