Scientists have successfully regenerated four-century-old frozen mosses which were found buried in the Candian glaciers.

Catherine La Farge, a biologist at the University of Alberta, discovered the mosses also known as 'byrophyte', on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

The study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed the byrophytes ability to survive in the harshest of conditions.

"Bryophytes are built for survival in extreme environments in ways that vascular plants are not," said Farge in the study.

"It has to do with their cell physiology, which provides special cell-repair mechanisms after desiccation."

The mosses were discovered in a critical state, "When we got the material back in the lab we observed green lateral branch growth from old LIA stems, which suggested they might actually still be viable. So we decided to try culturing the material," said Farge.

"Some of the populations that were emerging from the glacier actually appeared to have some 'greeness'."

According to the study, the discovery of the mosses was made possible since glaciers have been retreating by three to four metres every year thus revealing the centuries-old plants.

"It's a whole world of what's coming out from underneath the glaciers that really needs to be studied," the biologist told BBC.

"The glaciers are disappearing pretty fast - they're going to expose all this terrestrial vegetation, and that's going to have a big impact."

To determine the age of the mosses radiocarbon dating was performed confirming that the plant dates back to the Little Ice Age from AD 1550 to AD 1850 roughly.

Farge hoped that the discovery will rekindle interest in bryophytes. "I think the whole biological system of bryophytes has not really been understood well," she told science website iO9.