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Tomorrow Today

Life out of the Deep-Freeze

Glaciers, polar caps, permafrost: The ongoing thaw in the Earth’s polar regions has led to the discovery of some surprising fossils. In the early 1990s, the prehistoric mummy Ötzi the Iceman became famous after being discovered in a glacier. Now news of a 30,000-year-old giant virus is in the headlines.

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Cadavers of woolly mammoths preserved in Siberian permafrost could give researchers an opportunity, with the help of biotechnology, to bring the species back from extinction. A number of other discoveries offer scientists the chance to understand the origin of species - including humans - and of life itself.