Scientists resurrect the world's oldest plant, a 1,500 year-old moss

Illustration for article titled Scientists resurrect the worlds oldest plant, a 1,500 year-old moss

A patch of moss that lay buried beneath the antarctic ice for over 1,500 years has been successfully revived by scientists, who say that it is now the oldest living plant ever recorded.


Scientists have revived very old living organisms before (like this 30,000 year old virus that scientists recently thawed out from the permafrosts in Siberia), but that kind of timescale has until now been limited to viruses and bacteria. Researchers say that being able to revive the moss after all this time was an even bigger surprise since this particular variety of moss had only been seen to survive a few decades in the past.


The research was performed by scientists at the British Antarctic Survey, with Peter Convey and Royce Longton leading the team. You can read their whole study over in Current Biology here.

Image: The revived moss, British Antarctic Survey, via Current Biology

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There are quite a few plants alive today that are far older than 1500 years . . . individual specimens can be up in the 4-5000 year old range.

This moss is old . . . and impressively so. But it's hardly the "world's oldest plant".