I am always amazed at the tenacity with which life survives all manner of misfortunes. A considerable part of Beyond Animal, Ego and Time focuses on how the experiences, memory, and information of life is indelibly recorded on matter and survives the death of an organism. A most recent example is in a report by scientists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that documents the “Regeneration of whole fertile plants from 30,000 year old fruit tissue buried in Siberian permafrost.”
The research conducted by Svetlana Yashina, Stanislav Gubin, Stanislav Maksimovich, Alexandra Yashina, Edith Gakhova, and David Gilichinsky describes how plant seeds preserved in frozen, and never thawed, late Pleistocene permafrost were retrieved from fossil squirrel burrows and induced to germinate through in vitro tissue culture and clonal micropropagation. While the Silene stenophylla commonly called a narrow-leafed campion was successfully regenerated (pictured above), similar attempts with seed from sedge, Arctic dock, and alpine bearberray had begun to germinate but subsequently died. These plants are the oldest living multicellular organisms on Earth.
Use the following links for further information on these plants:
Note: Picture from S. YASHINA ET AL. PROC. NATL ACAD. SCI. USA