32 Thousand Years Old and Still Kicking

//32 Thousand Years Old and Still Kicking

32 Thousand Years Old and Still Kicking

  I wonder just how large of a cake you should buy for an organism that is 32,000 years old? I know for the Galapagos Tortoise they have some mighty fine parties around a century and a half (not living much longer than that) and to be perfectly serious here you have not lived until you’ve seen a Tortoise dancing around with shell tassels.

  So what on earth am I talking about? Well in 2005, beneath the nose of many (myself included) there was a discovery in a frozen Alaskan pond of some bacterial life. Well that in itself was hardly interesting, the bacteria had been frozen for 32k years and again while that’s a long time finding really old frozen matter is not exactly uncommon. However, and here is where it gets interesting, once they thawed out the organisms they began moving. It would appear that another wonderful tag to slap on to extremophiles (Organisms that live in extreme circumstances) and that would be the ability to reduce genetic damage caused from oxidation when frozen (and likely some other biological degenerates I don’t understand at this point).

  So what does this entail for people? Well from what I’ve read nothing immediately, on my birthday (as usual) there were some skeptics that said it was fake. However there are always skeptics, for some reason anytime something challenges previous held views people get extremely militant and rarely for good reasons. That short rant to the side I’ll provide the curious with some sources.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7064
http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-8444250_ITM
http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/131785/32000yearold_bacteria_found_in_alaska/
For the interest of Fairness here is the Birthday Complaint:
http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2007/August/28080702.asp

  So with that out of the way this gives me a new goal in life. I would like to see this sort of technology take off so that I could potentially experience cryogenics! How amazing would it be to freeze yourself in time and return at a predetermined time in the future? It certainly would be an interesting proposition. Albeit it would be terrible to be frozen and have some sort of religious war cause the end of humanity (I have heard in the last few years that biological weaponry is becoming a target but that may just be propaganda).

  I’m also curious to see if discovering how this organism halts (or retards) oxidation could create a process for humans to slow our own oxidation rates. This would, other factors aside like injury and disease, make us live a good deal longer. While with current reproductive rates that would not be a good thing (unless people start in large actually caring about their education and global impact) however if there was some control brought to reproduction it would be absolutely amazing to live for hundreds of years. However as it stands my understanding of this sort of thing is very limited, so I suppose it’s another topic I need to add to yee old Amazon wish list.

  If anyone else finds some more informative sources I’d be interested in them. Feel free to drop them (or input of any kind) by the comments section.

By | 2009-03-19T15:32:53+00:00 March 19th, 2009|Journal|2 Comments