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Climate Change Might Have Another Dire Result For Humanity: Ancient Viruses

According to experts, climate change has some pretty dire consequences in store for humans. Even if we halt greenhouse gas production today, the effects will still be felt on this planet for generations to come. Most of us know the usual list of climate change consequences sea level rise, warmer winters, drought, extreme weather events but one thing to add to that list is the reemergence of ancient viruses.

Trapped beneath the permafrost of places like Siberia are thousands of ancient microbes that were stuck there when the last ice age set in.

Trapped beneath the permafrost of places like Siberia are thousands of ancient microbes that were stuck there when the last ice age set in.

Now, with temperatures around the world rising thanks to climate change, the permafrost in these spots is not so permanent anymore.

Now, with temperatures around the world rising thanks to climate change, the permafrost in these spots is not so permanent anymore.

This thawing ground has led to discoveries around the world of viruses that are thousands of years old, and possibly deadly to humans.

This thawing ground has led to discoveries around the world of viruses that are thousands of years old, and possibly deadly to humans.

For example, the Mollivirus sibericum virus lay dormant under the Siberian tundra for 30,000 years before it was rediscovered by scientists a few years ago.

While these ancient viruses haven’t been shown to infect humans, it’s something we should watch out for.

While these ancient viruses haven't been shown to infect humans, it's something we should watch out for.

Luckily, most of the discovered ancient viruses only target other single celled organisms. Despite that, some researchers are cautioning us to be careful while looking for these viruses. You never know if you might accidentally discover an ancient, deadly form of the flu.

(via Unexplained Mysteries)

The prospect of an ancient virus coming back to kill humanity is more than a little terrifying. Still, it would make for a great movie plot…