While the Pithovirus may not affect humans, the virus that they dug up from the permafrost in Russia in the early 90s most definitely can. Researchers found bodies covered in markings that resembled the effects of Smallpox, and it’s no wonder, as that area did have an epidemic of the deadly disease in the 1890s.
And it’s not just viruses that can survive in the icy cold tundra; it’s bacteria, too, some as old as nearly 10 million years. Scientists worry that as the ice continues to melt away, more life-threatening diseases will emerge from beneath. It’s kind of terrifying the more you think about it.
These ancient flower buds are yet another gift to modern-day researchers that were presented by an Ice Age squirrel who was simply trying to protect his stash of food by burying the seeds. Scientists discovered the bits of the ancient flower that they believe were the result of the squirrel burrowing and decided to try and bring them back to life.
They created the perfect conditions for the seeds to be able to grow in their lab and successfully revived this type of flower that has not been around for tens of thousands of years. Nature is a truly remarkable thing when you think about it.
One of the most amazing things about the discoveries made in ice is how well everything is preserved over the course of thousands or millions of years. Scientists have been able to discover a lot about the world throughout history by studying these artifacts, or in this case, the gasses.
Through deep oil drilling, researchers discovered pockets of air full of different types of gas, like krypton. By testing the air, they are able to determine the state of the atmosphere from the time the ice was formed – which is over 20,000 years ago, according to the reports. Awesome.
Ice acts as a protective seal for deadly viruses and bacteria, which can preserve these pathogens for millions of years until it melts and unleashes an outbreak on the unsuspecting human population that inhabits the area. This kind of disease is known as a “zombie” disease due to the fact it goes into a deep sleep for ages until it is awakened only to kill.
Often times before the advancements in society, the bodies of the dead who died from epidemics were simply buried in the woods. Now, the melting permafrost continues to expose these bodies and reintroduce these “zombie” pathogens into the environment.
And speaking of scary things that have the ability to wipe out entire populations, an Anthrax outbreak in a remote area of Siberia caused villagers quite the scare. Although numerous people were infected, only one person was killed, but the virus also spread to more than 2,000 of the area’s reindeer.
Researchers determined that the cause of the outbreak was the melting permafrost, which had infected reindeer carcasses buried beneath it from decades ago. The melting ice not only caused the spores to return to the air but also got into the town’s groundwater by seeping into the soil. Not nice at all.