A tiny creature survives 

24,000 years in Siberian deep freeze.

Bdelloid rotifers may be the toughest, tiniest animals you've never heard of. 

The microscopic, multicellular creatures have complex anatomies and are among the planet's most radiation-resistant animals.

They can withstand extreme acidity, starvation, low oxygen and years of dehydration:

''They're the world's most resistant animals to just about every form of torture,'' said Matthew Meselson, a molecular biologist at Harvard University.

Bdelloids are among a teensy creatures, including tardigrades, that are known to survive incredibly inhospitable conditions.

For instance, bdelloids can come back to life after tens of thousands of years in deep freeze, according to a new study in the journal Current Biology.

For the study, scientists collected samples by drilling about 11 feet below the surface of the permafrost in northeastern Siberia. They discovered living bdelloid rotifers locked in the ancient permafrost, where the average temperature hovers around 14 degrees Fahrenheit [minus 10 Celsius].

Radio-carbon dating showed the bdelloids were 24,000 years old. They bounced back after being thawed and were still capable of reproducing. [Marion Renault]


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