Scientists found more than 30 viruses, many never seen before, frozen in glaciers near the Tibetan Plateau in China.
Lead author and researcher at the Ohio State University Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center Zhi-Ping Zhong released a statement that explained the “glaciers were formed gradually, and along with dust and gases, many, many viruses were also deposited in that ice.”
“The glaciers in western China are not well-studied, and our goal is to use this information to reflect past environments. And viruses are a part of those environments,” Zhong wrote.
On Wednesday, the scientific findings were published in the journal Microbiome in which it claimed that researchers studied “ice cores taken in 2015 that scientists said began to freeze at least 14,400 years ago.”
Coauthor of the study and director of Ohio State’s Center of Microbiome Science Matthew Sullivan told USA Today, “We know very little about viruses and microbes in these extreme environments and what is actually there. The documentation and understanding of that is extremely important.”
Researchers say the viruses have 33 genetic codes with 28 of them being novel, never before recognized.
The researchers said they do not “believe the viruses originated from animals or humans but came from the soil or plants. The scientists said roughly half of them survived because of the ice,” USA Today reported.