Cryptobiosis is a state that some living things enter when either frozen, dehydrated or deprived of oxygen. Metabolism and reproduction stop until the organism finds itself in an environment conducive to growth. Dried seeds are one example. Are they alive or dead? When they are exposed to water, nutrients and sunshine they resume growth. Lichen is another example. They sometimes go into a cryptobiotic state and survive in extremely cold or dry places. What’s unusual about lichen is that it is actually two organisms (a fungus and an algae) living in a mutually beneficial relationship.

2 Replies to “Cryptobiosis”

  1. Cool. I think we should exhume the body of Rip Van Winkle and perform some forensic analysis. I bet it was Cryptobiosis all along.

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