Karen Hopkin: What has one head, one foot and one heck of an origin story? No, it’s not a strange new superhero. It’s a microscopic worm called a rotifer that was brought back to life after spending about 25,000 years locked in the arctic permafrost. Its tale is told in the journal Current Biology. [Shmakova et al., A living bdelloid rotifer from 24,000-year-old Arctic permafrost.]
Hopkin: Stas Malavin of the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Social Science in Pushchino, Russia. He and his colleagues have spent decades probing the Siberian permafrost. And they’ve managed to revive a variety of interesting organisms, from a plant seed and simple bacteria to scores of more sophisticated single-celled critters.
Hopkin: Rotifers are better—or at least more interesting—because they’re multicellular animals, with a head and a body, that can eat, crawl around and make more rotifers. And considering they’re more or less teeny tiny worms, they’re actually cute little guys.