For generations humans have been on a constant quest to achieve immortality. Conquering death is a question that every civilization has tried to address . But unfortunately all our valiant attempts to achieve this paranormal state has been futile .
But in the late 1990’s Nature gave us a real surprise to make sure this quest continues for generations to come .
The gifted one...
We may be guessing whether achieving immortality has to do something with bizarre cryogenics or Egyptian mummies. Still, interestingly it so happens that our nature holds the answer to this very question as well.
A particular species called “Turritopsis dohrnii”, or otherwise known as the “Immortal Jellyfish”. This tiny transparent non-vertebrate is commonly found dispersed across oceans with temperate conditions. It was discovered around 1880 but earned its immortal badge a century later.
Physically it’s a bell-shaped organism that is barely visible; it’s about 4.5 inches wide and 5 inches tall when fully grown.
How in the world is it immortal?
Firstly it’s “Biologically immortal ”, which means it cannot die of old age but can be killed by predators. Secondly, the most important stages we need to know in the lifecycle of a jellyfish is the “Polyp” (i.e. the premature state) and the “Medusa”(i.e. the mature state).
This organism can exhibit a phenomenon called “trans-differentiation”, which means that every cell in its body has the ability to revert from a mature state to a premature state. That’s like an adult reverting to a child. This biological activity is generally triggered when the jellyfish senses a hostile environment. During this process, the medusa form contracts & eventually turns back into a polyp & this process can take place indefinitely, thereby faking its own death!
Extracurricular activities …
Apart from all the biological advantages these organisms possess, they also have a knack for travelling; this trait earned them the name “hitchhikers” as they are constantly found hitching rides on cargo ships & exponentially increasing their population across the globe.
The quest will continue…
Over the years, if we can understand the complex concept idea of “Senescence”(i.e. the gradual deterioration of normal functioning of cells) in the human body and “IF” we try to incorporate the process of “trans-differentiation artificially, then “probably” we have a fighting chance of getting closer to immortality!
The life lesson learned from the ones that came before us…
Jellyfish have been around for 600 million years, making them one of the oldest species in existence.
When an organism the size of your pinky finger which neither has a Brain nor a heart has the potential to conquer the world for so long ….what’s your excuse?