Frozen worms have been brought back to life after 46,000 years.

Frozen worms have been bought back to life

Frozen worms have been bought back to life

The creatures are believed to have lived in the time of the woolly mammoths and were removed from Siberian permafrost, where they were thawed out and resurrected.

The worms - from a species thought to be long extinct called Panagrolaimus kolymaensis - had been in a dormant state known as cryptobiosis and radiocarbon dating of plants where they were found indicates that the critters are approximately 46,000 years old.

Professor Teymuras Kurzchalia, of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, said: "This little worm could now be in line for a Guinness World Record, having remained in a state of suspended animation for far longer than anyone thought was possible.

"That it could be reanimated after 46,000 years left me absolutely flabbergasted. It is rather like the fairy tale of 'Sleeping Beauty', but over a far longer period."