Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Biotech It's funny.  Laugh. Science Technology

Reanimated Lobsters? 104

SYFer writes "Trufresh, a Connecticut-based frozen food company claims that lobsters frozen with its special freezing process sometimes come back to life when thawed. If these claims prove true, will the dubiously regarded field of "cryonics" finally get some respect?" If people were more like lobsters, maybe. The company's success rate at reviving lobsters after short-term freezing (at -40 degrees) is 12 out of 200.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Reanimated Lobsters?

Comments Filter:
  • by wizbit ( 122290 ) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:12PM (#8573857)
  • Ice Fishing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:14PM (#8573875)
    I used to go ice fishing as a kid. We'd just throw the fish on the snow. They'd freeze solid. At home we'd toss them in water and they all came back do life, only to die minutes later. Clearly the article is about something quite different, but I'm not stunned.
    • Re: Ice Fishing (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Black Parrot ( 19622 )

      > I used to go ice fishing as a kid. We'd just throw the fish on the snow. They'd freeze solid. At home we'd toss them in water and they all came back do life, only to die minutes later. Clearly the article is about something quite different, but I'm not stunned.

      A few years ago there was a news story about a kid who got lost in a blizzard. When they found her(?) she was "stiff as cordwood" and had a heart rate of 4 beats/minute. But they thawed her out OK.

      • homer and krusty look like clones because the joke was that the kids hate their dad and couldn't care less about him... but absolutely adore a person that is basicly the same but on television.
      • A few years ago there was a news story about a kid who got lost in a blizzard. When they found her(?) she was "stiff as cordwood" and had a heart rate of 4 beats/minute. But they thawed her out OK.

        Yeah, but how did she taste?

      • Cold does have a unusual property of sometimes slowing down a person's normal metabolic and physiological functions to the point where it's hard to even detect it. There have been documented cases of people frozen stiff but having heartrates of less than 10/min. EMT's are trained to check the pulse of a person who's been frozen for a good minute to detect things like that, otherwise it's easy to assume that the guy is dead. Granted, it's not all that common, but it does happen enough that resusitation ef
    • by pr0c ( 604875 ) * on Monday March 15, 2004 @09:29PM (#8574415)
      You've convinced me to do an experiment...

      I need 200 volunteers. Only 12 or so of you will make it through this experiment but it is a sacrifice I'm willing to make.
  • Selective breeding (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jhoger ( 519683 ) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:14PM (#8573876) Homepage
    If true they could do some selective breeding and increase the survival rate...

    Of course, that presumes the ones that survive can still breed, or that usable reproductive material is extracted before freezing.
    • by datababe72 ( 244918 ) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:33PM (#8574038)
      It also presumes that the survival of any single lobster is due to some positive genetic component, and not just random chance or subtle variations in the freezing technique/time frozen. The article doesn't really have enough detail to tell whether or not their techniques are rigorously standardized.

      I don't know enough about lobsters to know whether there is a plausible genetic component. I do know that certain types of deep sea fish have proteins that bind to ice particles in their blood, thereby allowing them to live happily in very, very cold water. The proteins are called antifreeze proteins. A quick search on PubMed turned up no mention of whether or not they exist in lobsters, but they do seem to exist in bacteria and plants as well as the arctic fish I was originally thinking of.
      • Agreed... could be something it ate. Or it's just a particularly ornery lobster.

        My hypothesis would be a genetic component there, which the antifreeze protein you are suggesting would fit with.
    • Who cares if they survive if you can just reanimate them?
  • by ibbey ( 27873 ) * on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:25PM (#8573968) Homepage
    I worked in Alaska on a crab processing ship, & we used to do the same thing to crabs all the time. You'd toss them in the brine (salt water cooled well below freezing) for a few minutes & they'd come back to life pretty consistently. Crab's (& presumably lobsters as well) are pretty simple life forms, so they respond just fine to the freezing.
    • You worked on a crab processing ship? My understanding was that occupation qualifies as: Most. Dangerous. Job. Ever.

      • by ibbey ( 27873 ) * on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @11:28PM (#8585597) Homepage
        I was on a processing ship, so it was basically a factory that happened to be in the middle of the ocean. The dangerous job is crabbing, actually going out & catching the crabs. That is extremely dangerous, but it paid well. You were paid according the catch, and once you'd been on the ship a few seasons & earned a full share, it is possible to make $25,000 during a two-week King crab season. But you work 21 hours a day, seven days a week, moving around 1000 pound crab traps, often in sub-zero conditions, on a slippery, wildly rocking boat. Because of the speed at which you need to work, it's not possible for you to wear a life jacket, and if you go overboard, you'll be dead in about 4 minutes. Oh, and the crabs can easily take off a finger.

        I briefly thought about trying to get a job on a crabber, but promptly realized that I wasn't cut out for that sort of work & stuck to the shitty processing job.
  • Well, as far as practical uses go (with the lobster) this could revolutionize the cooking industry! Imagine being able to have live lobsters available at an instant's notice! No more having to worry about keeping the little buggers alive, just freeze 'em til you need your customer to pick out his lobster, then kill him and cook it!
  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Undefined Parameter ( 726857 ) <> on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:26PM (#8573984)
    The blurb reminds me of this [] classic. Only six percent of the lobsters survive being frozen.

    On the other hand, I seem to recall watching a PBS "Nature" show which included a bit about a species frog (or toad?) that survived the frozen winter through some sort of hibernation, and I have to wonder if that's similar to what is going on with these lobsters.

    In the mean time, I'm going to stay away from the lobster ice cream.

  • by Anonymous Crowhead ( 577505 ) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:29PM (#8574005)
    Frozen to death, reanimated, then boiled to death.
    • Exactly. Interesting phenomenon but will absolutely NEVER support it as an industry practice. We're cruel enough to the tasty critters already! :)
      • by cgenman ( 325138 )
        I doubt public outcry will be so large. If there was a way to keep lobsters live before reaching the store by simply freezing them, I'd be surprised if we didn't see a bumper crop of cheap live lobster. The public doesn't have to see the reanimation process, so they would be nonethewiser.

        As you said, we're cruel enough to the tasty critters already. What's one more freezing going to do?

        • Oh I wasn't saying no one would support it, just me. I don't have a problem being a carnivore, but various slaughter/harvest practices definitely hit the cruel level. If it isn't necessary to do the freeze/thaw/boil routine, and who hasn't seen live lobsters at their grocery store, then why?
          • >
            >If it isn't necessary to do the freeze/thaw/boil routine, and who hasn't seen live lobsters at their grocery store, then why?

            Of course, you are assuming that it is less cruel to live transport them than to freeze/thaw them. Transporting animals is also extremely stressful and it could very possibly be more humane to freeze/thaw them with them feeling nothing in between than roughly transporting them all the way.
    • You forgot about being drowned in hot molten butter, too.
    • Frozen to death, reanimated, then boiled to death.

      Go Go Godilla!

  • Flash Freezing... (Score:5, Informative)

    by OneFix Away ( 762537 ) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:34PM (#8574040)
    It's called flash freezing and it theory...

    Problem is, ice crystals form in the soft humans, ice crystals form inside of the brain tissue and cause brain damage. This is the problem with cryogenics...

    If we fix the ice crystal problem, we still can't fix the damaged tissue in those folks that have frozen their bodies/heads/etc before...

    This is why it's pretty dumb to pay to be frozen until we can reverse the process and revive a person...
    • Re:Flash Freezing... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FattMattP ( 86246 )
      If we fix the ice crystal problem, we still can't fix the damaged tissue in those folks that have frozen their bodies/heads/etc before...
      The people in those situations were banking on nanotechnology having progressed enough that something would be able to repair the damage before reviving them.
      • I understand that, but there's no REAL reason to belive that this will ever be fix damaged brain tissue without ever having access to the undamaged tissue...

        To be honest, these people will probably end up being burried or cremated(sp?) like the rest of us in a few decades anyhow...there's no real reason the belive that these companies won't eventually enter bankruptcy like most every other company out there...
        • Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

          by GCP ( 122438 ) on Monday March 15, 2004 @10:24PM (#8574831)
          And there's no REAL reason to believe we could fly in space. After all, everyone knows there's no air, so flapping your wings would have no effect.

          Yep. It's pretty dumb to imagine they they'll be able to do things in the future that we don't know how to do already.

          • Re:Sure (Score:3, Funny)

            by fm6 ( 162816 )
            So someday, somebody will discover a cure for bankruptcy. But I need a place to stash my frozen head now!
          • Yea. Ok, I guess that may be so, but then again...if that's gonna be the case, you'ld be better off paying the local Subway to do it...just let them stash your head in their would accomplish the same thing...
            • by GCP ( 122438 )
              It's possible, but far less likely. Real cryo storage is designed for extreme low temperature, long term, and no freeze/thaw cycling -- unlike Subway (I assume you mean the sandwich shop). All of these things *increase the chances* that recovery might be possible.

              Increase the chances to what level? Nobody knows. Just up as high as we know how. If we knew a way to increase the chances even more (that wasn't prohibitively expensive), we'd do that, because nobody knows what the threshold for success will be.
          • Re:Sure (Score:2, Funny)

            by subtropolis ( 748348 )

            Not that i disagree with your post, but i couldn't help picture you as a lobster exhorting a bunch of others :-)

        • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @08:11AM (#8577023) Journal
          They are dead anyway. Adding a tiny percentage of surviving dead no matter how small doesn't sound all that crazy.

          The real problem I am afraid isn't tech. It is why. Why should we want to unfreeze these people in a hundred years? It is not like we are running out of people.

      • Hell, why not just bank on them being able to give you a complete brain transplant when they thaw you.

        Any lost memories and personality effects will of course be replaced by returning in time to the moment before you died and taking a complete brain wave scan and then writing them to the new brain.

        Seriously the thought of having a slushy that used to be my brain 'repaired' strikes me as less than useful, even if it will ever be possible.

      • banking on nanotechnology having progressed enough . . .

        Agreed. Ted Williams' son just died recently [] and it's not clear whether he's also going to have his body at ALCOR. I believe there were a lot of issues like he never really paid the full bill for his dad's cryonics, and they possibly separated the head. I didn't know that Ted Wms' son had leukemia. Maybe he was banking on a cure for that or even using his dad's tissue to help with that.
    • This is why it's pretty dumb to pay to be frozen until we can reverse the process and revive a person...

      Yeah, because if we don't invent the technology to fix that, then they'll be really screwed.

  • Subject "En1arge y0ur manh0od - then free2e it so it's redy when u are!"

  • 12 in 200 is better odds than you apparently get stuffed into an incinerator or the more traditional 6ft under.
  • The Voice of the Lobster

    by Lewis Caroll

    Tis the voice of the Lobster: I heard him declare
    "You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair."
    As a duck with its eyelids, so he with his nose
    Trims his belt and buttons, and turns out his toes.
    When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark
    And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark:
    But, when the tide rises and sharks are around,
    His voice has a timid and tremulous sound.

    I passed by his garden, and marked with one eye,
    How the Owl and Panther we

  • Why, that's almost 6 percent!

  • -40 degrees (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 3141 ( 468289 ) on Monday March 15, 2004 @09:17PM (#8574341) Homepage
    Incidentally, Timothy was totally correct in saying -40 degrees without specifying Celsius or Fahrenheit, because -40 degrees Celsius is the same temperature as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • I thought we geeks were supposed to default to Kelvin if the units were unspecified?
      • Yeah, but you can't get a negative value for Kelvin.

        Unless the atoms making up a material are so cold that they're vibrating negatively, like moving backwards in time or something. Yeah, that would probably do it...

        (Runs off to invent time machine powered by crystals of solid helium at subzero Kelvin temperatures)
    • I actually submitted the same story earlier 'Undead for dinner?', which isn't really worth mentioning, save for the fact that the following (basically) happened:

      [typing in blurb]Lobsters frozen down to as cold as -40
      [hrm wait was it C??]
      [Crap I better go find the article again]
      [pinky on CTRL to begin "tab-surfing"]
      [Groan and exclaim, outloud to self, 'I can be such a f*cking idiot sometimes]
      reanimated when thawed.

      [Giggles a bit thinking of what happens to the fool w
      • PS [Feels stupid for having wasted time submitting an 'article' to /.] :)"

        Well, *many* people submitted this story, and I look back with nostalgic regret as I recall yours, the best headline, the one I probably should have used. But I liked this version of the story best ...

        50,000 Lobster fans can't be wrong, or something.

        • timothy,

          Im a facetious SOB.

          You don't owe me any explaination why you chose someone else's submission.

          Don't get me wrong, I'd surely rather have my ego stroked, but it's not big enough to need soothing. Yet.

          Now certain other editors, named after archangels, that reject my submissions, while selecting _crap_ stories, on a slow day- simultaneous to one of your comments magically modded down from + to -2 flamebait, should worry... ;) j/k, I swear...

          PS Congrats on the marriage.

    • by Imperator ( 17614 ) <slashdot2.omershenker@net> on Monday March 15, 2004 @09:42PM (#8574519)
      Yeah, but I had taken it to be -40 Kelvins.
    • -40 degrees? No wonder the lobsters are so fresh here in Boston.

      [shivers in the middle of a heated apartment]

  • If you froze goldfish in liquid O2, we had a surprising amount of success reviving them. I believe the mitochondria were shattered due to ice crystals, so they only lasted for a bit. The tricky bit is keeping them alive. Did a fair amount of b-cell cloning - separate out the white blood cells, add enormous quantities of EBV, toss in nuked whites as feeders, and isolate the interesting ones. You could freeze down a single blood cell if you were careful (and used a bit of dimethyl sulfoxide to help with the crystallization problem)

    I hear we missed out on the real fun however. Guess lighting charcoal was where the real action was. Picking up shattered goldfish bits got old fast....
  • by SuccuBUS ( 190082 ) on Monday March 15, 2004 @10:12PM (#8574757)
    Back in school we did an experiment on mud crabs with the similar results. We progressively cooled them down and measured their responses (forget how). Soon got bored and left them in the freezer. Remembered next day and found them (unsurprisingly) frozen completely solid in a block of ice. Thawed them out and the little buggers walked away. Our teacher nearly fell over in surprise!

    Same thing happens with alpine Wetas (Native NZ crickets). In heavy frosts they freeze solid overnight and thaw out the next day. Research shows they have an antifreeze in their blood which helps to prevent ice xtals forming.
  • your melted butter frightens me!
  • I'm confused...
  • by briglass ( 608949 ) on Monday March 15, 2004 @11:53PM (#8575497)
    The main problem with human cryogenics is that the freezing process destroys the cell lining, but certain frogs have enough glucose in their cells to maintain the shape of the cell lining even when frozen. I'm not sure if this is the case with the lobsters.
  • Freezing things (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    At work we freeze mammalian cell lines for weeks at a time. A good percentage of the cells do survive process. I heard that a some of the researchers where taking this a step further to whole organisms. Though that hasn't been very successful.
  • Am I the only one who read the headline and thought maybe, just maybe, it had something to do with bringing back Futurama? :P
  • To freez to death only to be revived and boiled to death, again, for the only crime of being tasty? If this isn't cruel and unusual punishment I really don't know what is...
  • 12 out of 200 ain't bad odds if you're dead.

  • by fuzzybunny ( 112938 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @05:46AM (#8576679) Homepage Journal
    This means you won't have to go through expensive layoffs and re-hiring phases during economic cycles.

    When it turns out you have too many employees, just send a couple of them into the freezers under some pretext, and thaw them out when things get busy again.
  • And thus, I placed the 200 frozen lobsters into the icy permafrost.

    The foolish humans of the future will not know what hit them!

This login session: $13.76, but for you $11.88.