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Zombie plants? Frozen plants thaw and wake up from 400-year nap

Stashed in: Zombies!, Plants!, Europe

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Arctic explorers have noticed these glacial-edge mosses before, but always assumed that they were seeing modern mosses that had blown onto the "dead mats," like squatters moving into a long-abandoned building.  But when Dr. La Farge's team put the moss under a microscope, they saw that the green branches were growing from 500-year-old stems.

They put blackened moss with potting soil under a grow lamp and held their breath. Six weeks later, they had proof: these ancient mosses, frozen since the Middle Ages, were growing again.

These plants froze between 404 and 615 years ago, according to radiocarbon dating, or between 1398 and 1609, during the early part of the "Little Ice Age" that chilled much of Europe. The last time they saw the sun, English speakers were using words like "verily" and "forsooth."

I don't ever remember reading about Europe's Little Ice Age.

I'm dreading the climate change coming to the world in the next century.

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