The Immortal Jellyfish
Immortality! Sounds like a dream right? Well, the good news is that you can be immortal. The bad news is that you have to become a jellyfish to do so. And not just any jellyfish. You have to become a “Turritopsis dohrnii”. A tiny, bell-shaped water blob, the immortal jellyfish is just 4.5mm at it’s maximum height and width. And this little thing is the only officially known immortal creature on earth!
Where do Immortal Jellyfish live?
This particular species of jellyfish is native to the waters of the Mediterranean sea, although, they attach themselves to the bases of ships and are hence found in other areas of the world as well.
Although they prefer warmer waters, they have been spotted in colder areas too.
Does the Immortal Jellyfish live forever?
So what’s the deal with their immortality? It’s not, as one would expect, living for a long, long time. Turns out, immortality has more to do with returning to the basics.
The immortal jellyfish is immortal because of it’s ability to lose its maturity. The immortal jellyfish propagate, and then, instead of dying like the rest of the living creatures, they choose to revert to a sexually immature stage, and go through it all over again. And again. Forever.
When the adult form of the 4.5 mm-wide species Turritopsis dohrnii has reproduced, it doesn’t die, and instead, transforms into its juvenile polyp state through a process called transdifferentiation. Its tentacles retract, its body shrinks, and it sinks to the ocean floor to repeat the cycle all over again. Among laboratory samples, all the adult Turritopsis observed regularly undergo this change.
But even having the ability to live forever doesn’t mean they actually live forever and will one day take over the world.
They get eaten a lot. And theya lso fall prey to diseases, like the rest of the sea creatures. Also, this mysterious process of revival has only been observed in laboratories so far.
The process of reverting from its adult-phase to a polyp has yet to be seen in nature. Which makes scientists suspect that something in the natural circumstances prevents this from occurring.
What does the Immortal Jellyfish eat?
It’s a simple diet which consists of plankton, fish eggs and small mollusks, subject to availability.
So do you wish you were an immortal jellyfish? Personally, I would prefer just the immortality. Being human is way more fun!