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Scientists studying glaciers discovered in two ice core samples taken from the Tibetan plateau that 33 viruses were nearly 15,000 years old. Thanks to freezing under the ice, most viruses still survive.
According to scientists, four of the newly found viruses have been identified by the scientific community, at least 28 new viruses remain unlike any viruses that have been classified so far. About half of them seem to have survived the freezing point.
Based on genetic evidence, the researchers suggest that some of the viruses inside the newly found ice are still active.
The discovery will help researchers understand how viruses have evolved over the centuries.
To analyze bacteria and viruses in ice without causing infection, the scientists also created a new, ultra-clean method.
The two ice core samples the team analyzed were taken in 2015 from the Guliya ice cap 6,706 meters above sea level in western China.
Layers of ice that accumulate year after year form ice cores. Every time a layer of ice freezes, it traps whatever is in the surrounding atmosphere. So the layers of ice create the timeline. This is what the team has used to study climate change, bacteria, viruses and gas throughout history.
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