These Tiny Animals Were Frozen for 30 Years and Were Brought Back to Life

These tiny animals were frozen in 1983 and brought back to life.

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Complex Original

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Okay. If you haven't heard of tardigrades before, you're missing out. Tardigrades, or water bears, are these tiny little creatures that are not only known for their weird, cute looks, but for being able to pretty much endure anything—including being frozen for thirty years.

Way back in 1983, Japan's National Institute of Polar Research collected a few tardigrades from Antarctica and froze them at -4F. In early 2014 scientists defrosted these creatures and were able to revive two of them. But that's not the most impressive part.

According to the BBC, one of the critters died 20 days into the experiment, but the other one survived and ended up reproducing with another tardigrade, one that was born from a frozen egg.

Apparently the tardigrades slow down their metabolism enough so they are able to survive such temperatures. It's an amazing feat, but still not the most interesting thing these little water bears have been through. Back in 2007, a Swedish researcher released a couple of them into space and was surprised to learn that most of them survived despite the conditions.

Much to our surprise, Tardigrades still don't hold the record for living in a frozen state. That honor goes to the nematode worm, which was revived after 39 years of being frozen.

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