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We Now Know Another Reason Why Captain America Was Able To Survive Being Frozen

Shuri, the Princess of Wakanda, has answered one of the most enduring mysteries in the MCU: how Captain America was able to survive being frozen for more than 60 years. 

The princess' journals form the basis of The Wakanda Files, a book released by Epic Ink, that details the science and technology that makes the Avengers possible. Already, the journals are proving to be a treasure trove of Marvel factoids. Among them is the scientific explanation of Cap's seemingly impossible survival after crashing his plane in the frozen waters of the Arctic Ocean.

As reported by Syfy Wire, Shuri obtained a classified memo sent to Nick Fury by Agent Coulson that details how the super-soldier serum that made Steve Rogers a superhero also saved his life. According to the memo, Captain America's "increased metabolism and his increased immune system put him into a cryogenic hibernation" that allowed his body to safely withstand being encased in ice for so long. The memo also revealed the full extent of Cap's strength: after being injected with the serum it became possible for him to burn up to 8,000 calories a day simply by resting.

This was good news for Steve, since the enhancements allowed him to survive and be revived in the 21st Century, but it also opens up a whole lot of new questions about his diet. It's a shame that Shuri's journals didn't also include how many shawarmas he had to eat after all that fighting during the Battle of New York.

There's real science backing Captain America's ability to survive being frozen

Prior to the release of The Wakanda Files, the MCU shared a detailed explanation of the science that saved Captain America's life after his plane crash, via the immersive Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. experience in Las Vegas. The Captain America portion of the exhibit reveals that while the hero's blood thickened during his time in the ocean, the water within it never froze. Blood tests performed on his body after he was found showed that his blood contained extra glucose that lowered the freezing temperature of the water in his blood and created a "cryoprotectant," as reported by Cinema Blend.

It may sound like a wild explanation, but it's also one grounded in real world science. The exhibit goes on to explain that the biological processes that Cap's body underwent while he was frozen is similar to what allows Water Bears and hibernating Wood Frogs to stop themselves from freezing. While the process isn't natural for humans, the introduction of the super-soldier serum transformed Steve's body, making it possible for his impressive metabolism and increased immune response to keep him alive despite being frozen under water for decades.

Captain America isn't the only hero who has survived being frozen

The super-soldier serum not only saved Captain America's life, it also saved that of his best friend, Bucky Barnes. While it seems less is known about the specifics of what Bucky went through at the hands of Hydra, he too was injected with the serum, and he has been frozen multiple times over the years. It stands to reason that the changes to his metabolic process is what allowed him to survive several rounds of cryogenic freezing over the course of decades — just like how the serum enabled Cap's decades-long hibernation. 

It's possible that Disney+'s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will continue to explore the particulars behind the super-soldier serum that made it possible for Cap and Bucky to live through conditions that would be fatal for normal humans. But for now, knowing that there is a real scientific precedence for the process their bodies underwent to keep them alive only adds to the MCU's cool factor. After all, much like Shuri, we love a good scientific explanation for a seemingly impossible event.