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Scientists discover a Stone Age virus located in Siberian ice

Virus credit   National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS)

Scientists in France have appeared to have awoken a sleeping giant in the form of a virus that remarkably dates back as far as the Stone Age. The virus was located buried deep under the ice in Siberia where it has remained dormant for around 30,000 years.

The virus presents no danger to modern day human beings or animals and it is so large that it can be observed under a conventional microscope. The virus dates back to a time when mammoths and Neanderthals walked the Earth.

Professor Jean-Michel Claverie, from the National Centre of Scientific Research who discovered the virus has said “This is the first time we’ve seen a virus that’s still infectious after this length of time. 60% of its gene content doesn’t resemble anything on Earth”. The virus has been named pithovirus sibericum and was uncovered 100ft-deep in a sample of frozen soil taken from coastal tundra in Chukotka, near the East Siberian Sea.


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