Due to the polar ice caps and deep layers of permafrost melting at an alarming rate (thanks, global warming!), scientists have consistently discovered ancient diseases, bacteria, fungi, and other similar infectious entities to be alive and well.
Various studies and research over recent years have yielded astounding results with dangerous diseases of various natures becoming revived as large areas of ancient ice continue to melt. Scientists around the globe are beginning to fear what else could be below the ice and whether or not if it’s something we have encountered in the past.
In an incident in Siberia during August 2016, several people, including a child, were infected with anthrax by an unknown source. Sadly, the child was the only one who succumbed to the disease while all others were hospitalized with the severe sickness.
It has been theorized that over 70 years ago, an animal, most likely a reindeer, became infected with the disease, died, and became buried under several layers of snow and ice preserving the disease.
Due to that area of Siberia experiencing an unusual heatwave during the summer of 2016, a lot of ice came to melt. This, in turn, exposed the infected reindeer corpse to the water supply and surrounding soil, which then infected at least 2,000 other reindeer. It is then believed that this is what led to so many people becoming infected.
In 2005, scientists from NASA made a wondrous discovery of microbes, Carnobacterium pleistocenium, which quite literally sprang back to life once the ice it was trapped in had melted.
Scientists were amazed that the bacteria seemed utterly unaffected from the 32,000 years it spent suspended in the ice.
FYI these microbes existed during the same era as woolly mammoths so, it’s safe to say that the term ‘ancient’ is an understatement.
Other events of revived bacteria have been recorded to have become active upon release from ice that dated as far back as 100,000 years. Due to these scientific revelations, researchers are now better equipped with the knowledge to help us understand more about what diseases are most likely to be candidates for surviving these types of conditions.
Scientists dedicated to this area of study have many theories, but one truly stands out directly because of the amount of evidence being collected: infectious bacteria and microbes that form spores are far more likely to survive.
This conclusion was derived from incidences where anthrax from many years ago became exposed, activated, and caused live infections. Anthrax’s structure is made up of spores, which are highly capable of protecting themselves from these severe, icy conditions for thousands of years.
Other old diseases such as tetanus and pathogens related to botulism are also spore-based, which makes them perfect candidates for being revived as well. Scientists have also discovered trace DNA and RNA from infectious entities that were well-known for causing worldwide epidemics to be present in permafrost, such as smallpox.
Fortunately, they have declined to see if they could be revived from their state, for obvious reasons.
Many scientific organizations continue to study the living entities found in ancient layers of ice to be better prepared for what could be a reality in the Earth’s future.
Life itself is entirely unpredictable and capable of astounding accomplishments that continue to amaze (and scare) us all. The continuing of proactive practices on the matter is expected to provide more and more insight that we may very well need to protect our very existence as humans.
About the Author: Stephanie Tanner is a stay at home mother dedicated to writing on every subject she can get her hands on. Learning, writing, and being a great parent is her main passions along with cooking, gaming and staying active. Her favorite quote sums it up, “The only evil is ignorance, the only good is Knowledge” – Nick Traina
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