They already had a reputation for being indestructible, but the tiny micro-animals we know as water bears just did something that still managed to wow scientists.

Two of the 0.2mm-long creatures, and a separate egg, were able to be revived after being frozen for more than 30 years.

Clinging to a sample of moss taken from Antarctica, they'd been stored at a temperature of -20C since 1983.

The tiny water-dwelling beings, also known as tardigrades, are able to temporarily shut down their metabolic activities when induced by freezing and other stimuli, in what's called cryptobiosis.

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Yet they don't hold the longest record for an organism waking up after a long icy sleep: one species of nematode managed to survive frozen for 39 years.