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Forget Jurassic Park, scientists just resurrected freaky ancient worms

Like something from the best science fiction movies, scientists have revived ancient worms from 40,000 years ago. Jurassic Park already warned us about this.

Jurassic Park Jeff Goldblum in front of Dune sandworm

Jurassic Park is probably one of your favorite movies (if not, why not?) and the idea of ancient creatures being revived to walk among us in the modern day has always sounded like an extremely cool – if admittedly dangerous – idea. Now, the scientists behind Jurassic Park, and John Hammond himself, would be feeling pretty proud of a scientific breakthrough in the real world, because, like the plot of one of the best science fiction movies, ancient worms from over 40,000 years ago have been brought back to life.

As reported by Sky News, researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Germany uncovered a group of ‘Panagarolaimus kolymaensis’ worms from permafrost in Siberia, which had been in a state of cryptobiosis (the ability of a creature to make itself dormant in freezing conditions in order to protect themselves from harsh winters) for precisely 46,000 years. Life finds a way.

Like how the scientists in the Steven Spielberg movie carefully extracted a mosquito from amber, researchers were able to thaw out the worms, and revive them with food and water.

The worms are currently among the oldest living creatures on Earth, with a lifespan which previously saw them living in the Pleistocene alongside (or more specifically, underneath) Woolly Mammoths and Neanderthals.

Professor Teymuras Kurzchalia, who helped to lead the study, commented on the astounding discovery. “This little worm could now be in line for a Guinness World Record, having remained in a state of suspended animation for far longer than anyone thought was possible. That it could be reanimated after 46,000 years left me absolutely flabbergasted. It is rather like the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, but over a far longer period.”

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Admittedly, our first thoughts went to sci-fi rather than the best Disney movies, but Kurzchalia’s likening of the research to something from fiction does make us feel at least a little validated.

Hopefully, the research can result in a more comprehensive understanding of cryptobiosis and genetic evolution of the past 40,000 years, rather than some kind of terrifying ancient worm uprising in the vein of Jurassic Park. Though, even if it does all go wrong, we’d rather face an ancient worm than a T-Rex. Now we’re just waiting for this whole fascinating chapter to be turned into a new movie.

If this has all left you itching to watch the Jurassic Park movies in order, you can see what the Jurassic Park cast have been up to and see how Jeff Goldblum improvised his most iconic moment in the movies. Or, for more worm action, see what’s going on with the Dune 2 release date before checking out our picks for the best action movies and best adventure movies.

If it’s streaming you’re after, see what’s new on Netflix this month, or check out our guide to what’s new on Prime Video.