5 Stories

Could an 1890s Smallpox Outbreak Come Back to Haunt Us?

Researchers fear melting permafrost will revive the virus

(Newser) - A video of scientists in hazmat suits incinerating animal carcasses in Siberia looks straight out of a sci-fi movie about a rogue virus, notes Vice News . The scariest part? Such a sight might become more familiar. The video arose because melting permafrost caused a long-frozen reindeer carcass to thaw and... More »

Prehistoric 'Frankenviruses' Could Rise Again

Viruses, buried in permafrost, could be revived with climate change

(Newser) - A 30,000-year-old "giant virus" could be brought back to life thanks to a surprise discovery 100 feet deep in Siberia's permafrost. The virus, Mollivirus sibericum or "soft virus from Siberia," qualifies as giant because it is 0.6 micrometers and can be seen under a... More »

Giant Virus Wakes After 30K Years in Siberia

It's still infectious after millennia in permafrost

(Newser) - The biggest virus ever discovered is awake—and infectious—after a 30,000-year nap buried deep in Siberian permafrost. Pithovirus sibericum, a member of a recently discovered class of giant viruses, was found 100 feet deep in the frozen ground. It only infects amoebas, but the researchers who uncovered it... More »

700K-Year-Old Horse Yields World's Oldest DNA

Pushes back their evolution to 4M years ago

(Newser) - Woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and... horses? According to research using the oldest DNA ever found, horses have been trotting around for millions of years—about 4 million, to be exact. The study, published in Nature , explains how scientists used DNA from a 700,000-year-old horse foot bone found in Canada'... More »

Ancient Ice Find Cools Warming Fears

Canadians find chunk of permafrost that survived steamier climates

(Newser) - Canadian scientists have found the oldest chunk of ice in North America, the Globe and Mail reports, a discovery that suggests the earth’s carbon-laden permafrost may be more resistant to global warming than once thought. The 700,000-year-old chunk of Yukon ice has stayed frozen through two ancient, hotter... More »

5 Stories