When the researchers examined the bryophytes they found that the plants' structure was well preserved by the glacier. Some of the plants showed signs of regrowth, including green lateral branches or stems.
They used radiocarbon dating to confirm that the exhumed bryophytes were entombed during the Little Ice Age that ran roughly from 1550 to 1850.
The researchers then took fragments of the plants and cultured them in the laboratory. In the end, they grew 11 cultures from seven specimens, representing four distinct taxa.
"The ability of exhumed bryophyte tissue to regenerate emphasizes their successful adaptation to extreme polar environments," the researchers wrote in their paper.