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Reviving a 24,000-Year-Old Animal Is Exactly How a Horror Movie Would Start

Or an alien movie.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead in The Thing

Scientists have apparently revived animals that were around when woolly mammoths were alive, according to Stas Malavin from the Soil Cryology Laboratory in Russia. It’s a move that screams, “I’ve never watched a horror movie in my life!” Because awakening something that is 24,000 years old doesn’t end well in the movies I’ve watched, especially for the scientists who are doing the thawing. Granted, these are microscopic organisms, but that won’t stop them from crawling into our eyeballs and sending us on murderous killing sprees.

These small creatures are known as bdelloid rotifers. They are freshwater animals that are multicellular. And they were found in the Siberian permafrost according to the Huff Post. As pictured in the video below, they were in a deep freeze before being brought back to life, essentially making them tiny zombies.

And I understand that some creatures take time off when it gets really cold. Their bodies go like, “Nope. It’s too cold. Time for a nap.” But there’s a huge difference between a wood frog going to sleep (its heart stops and it looks dead to anyone watching) because of extreme cold and a 24,000-year-old creature being revived for science because nothing could go wrong, right?


As a commenter on HuffPo’s tweet about these scientific shenanigans noted, those of us who watch a certain sort of film genre know how this goes.

If my extensive movie-watching career (which isn’t as prestigious as a scientist’s education but just go with it for now) has taught me anything it’s that you don’t mess with things that have been essentially dead for thousands of years. You especially don’t do it when said creature starts asexually reproducing and feeding like it was only yesterday that they clunked out like this creature specifically is doing.

Has no one watched The Thing? And no, I’m not talking about the 1982 film. I’m talking about the 2011 one starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (and I’m also partially talking about the 1938 novella “Who Goes There?”). Personally, I don’t think this movie gets enough credit and I remember loving how it connected to the other movie as a prequel. But, anyway, it’s the perfect example of “Don’t mess with that frozen thing because it might kill.”

Other movies like The Thaw and the truly dreadful The Frozen Dead or Rare Exports follow the same kind of thought. And I know they’re silly, I know they’re outrageous, but when my brain hears about creatures that being revived after a long sleep it goes, “Danger, Will Robinson!” And you’d think this is the first time something like this has happened. You’d be wrong!

Back in 2018, scientists revived worms that had been frozen for 42,000 years according to LiveScience. Those people never watched scary movies and these folks with their bdelloid rotifers obviously haven’t either. Because at some point, in their curiosity, they’re going to uncover something they should’ve left resting.

(image: Universal Pictures)

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Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.