30,000-Year-Old Flower Brought Back to Life by Russian ScientistsBy Melissa Knowles
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An Ice Age flower has come back to life. How exactly did that happen? Well, a team of Russian scientists discovered a burrow that contained fruit and seeds left in the Siberian permafrost by a squirrel that buried them about 30,000 years ago. Remnants of the Silene stenophylla blossom were found perfectly preserved, and in an experiment to extract the seeds, the scientists pioneered a new way to resurrect the plant. For thousands of years, the flower was fully encased in ice, and no water was able to get to it. The storage chambers that the squirrels created were filled with hay and animal fur to protect their treasure. Stanislav Gubin, one scientist working with the discovery, called it a "natural cryobank." The blossom with its white flowers looks similar to its modern-day version, which also grows in the same region as its predecessor. The burrows, which were found 125 feet below the surface, also contained bones of wooly mammoths, deer, and bison. So in addition to bringing the flower back to life, scientists hope to find preserved animal tissue that may one day lead to another breakthrough--wooly mammoths roaming the earth again. People on social media are saying these discoveries are eerily similar to the "Jurassic Park" movie franchise in which a mosquito trapped in amber led to the resurrection of dinosaurs. One person tweeted, "awesome."
Does it just grind your gears when someone one-ups you? That may be how the Russian scientists mentioned in the previous article may be feeling. American and Chinese scientists have made a remarkable discovery, too. They have found a nearly 300 million-year-old forest. It was found buried under a coal mine in Wuda, China, and it had been perfectly maintained under a thick layer of volcanic ash. University of Pennsylvania paleobotanist Hermann Pfefferkorn compares the discovery to the lost Roman city of Pompeii. Pompeii was completely covered in volcanic ash for more than 1,700 years from an eruption at Mount Vesuvius until it was accidentally discovered. This newly found Permian forest dates to when the first mammals, turtles, and some dinosaurs inhabited the earth. Scientists are comparing the find to a time capsule that preserved entire trees and plants exactly as they were at the time of the volcanic eruption. This has allowed scientists to digitally re-create what the 10,000-square-foot forest would have looked like. The scientists have been able to identify six different groups of trees, including some as tall as 80 feet and even a few that are now extinct.