Ned Rozell

Standing in the 29-degree air outside a building on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, Josephine Galipon held a pinkie-size vial that may have contained tiny organisms locked in a coma for thousands of years.

Galipon, a researcher with Keio University in Japan, needed to work outside a heated room so as not to disturb molecules that have been motionless in frozen ground for as long as 25,000 years. That was a time when giant sheets of ice pressed down on most of North America.

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