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While most species out there tend to die at some point, there is a specific breed of jellyfish that has developed a way to live forever. Nicknamed the ‘Immortal Jellyfish,’ Turritopsis dohrnii is capable of escaping death, permanently.
Jellyfish lifespans normally range from a few hours to a couple months, with only one species living up to thirty years. The Immortal Jellyfish, however, can morph back to its infant stage after reproducing, thus recreating its own lifespan. Imagine living a whole life, growing old and gaining loads of memories, only to revert back to a young child after reproducing. The Immortal Jellyfish can continue this process for as long as it is capable of reproducing, forever becoming young again. As far as we understand it, there is nothing else like this located on this planet.
While these Immortal Jellyfish are still vulnerable to prey and disease, there is no definitive end-point for their lives. There is no grand finale or final destination for them to eventually reach. They simply float on with their lives, literally and metaphorically speaking, continuing from one spot in the ocean to the next.
Biologically, a jellyfish has no mind and no sense of self. It is simply a collective network of nerves, which detect specific stimuli such as the touch of another organism. However, if we were to get philosophical for a moment, what would happen if a jellyfish actually retained memories? Since their biological structure is being rewritten by itself, would it erase all of its experiences and memories? What if this occurred to a human? To add a bit of science fiction flair into the mix, could we utilize this biological anomaly for our own human understanding of the world, for either medical purposes or otherwise?
Immortality has been an often sought after subject for the human race, with
nearly every pursuer ending with failure. Could these jellyfish be a small step toward the concept of true immortality, or at least a skewed version where everyone reverts in age?