Monday, August 22, 2011

The Immortal Jellyfish

Nature is full of surprises and crazy exploits. Some are pretty and fascinating. Others are mindblowing.

Turritopsis nutricula is one of them.

This medusa is smaller than your fingertip, but you can bet it'll live on longer than you. In fact, barring environmental predators, it'll never die. That's right. Our friend T. nutricula is an immortal jellyfish.

Turritopsis nutricula uses a nice and simple (in appearance, anyway) trick to achieve this: it inverses its life cycle as it gets old. This jellyfish developped a special process that allows it, through the use of unique cell tissues, to reverse its aging and return to polyp form.

If you've watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, you know what I'm talking about. Imagine if we could from baby to old, then back to baby, forever and ever.

Crazy. Also, great fodder for far-off science-fiction or a magical race. But that's my writer brain talking.

It's a good thing T. nutricula isn't a four-feet large jellyfish, otherwise we'd have a Worldwide Giant Medusa Invasion on our hands. Meep!


  1. That is the most awesome thing I've heard in a long time.

    Me: T. nutricula you look fabulous! What's your secret?

    T. nutricula: oh, I've just discovered a way to reverse aging by manipulating my cells to return to polyp form.

    Me: I am not changing your diapers.

    T. nutricula: Some friend you are.

  2. That's freaking great. I love how nature is smarter than us, though humans supposedly have all the brains. :)

  3. cookie: Oh my, that is hilarious. My ribs may never forgive you for all the hurting.

    NiaRaie: I like to think we put everything we had on brains, whereas other species put their money on stuff life claws, hard shells and, well, immortality. ;)

  4. You can't out-weird nature! I saw on QI the other night that you can put two sea sponges in a blender, mix them all together, and when you leave them alone they will separate into their two original beings. The ocean is full of creepy and cool stuff!

    Also, there's an award for you on my blog!

  5. This medusa is one of my favorites! I think I had a picture of it back in April on one of my posts. Not only does it look cool, but it's also so bizarre. I love this world!

  6. That is SO COOL! I feel enlightened, thank you!

  7. Jen: Wow. The sponge this is just... O.o Crazy! I love it. (and, whoo, award! :) )

    Sommer: I know, I remember that post! It was super cool and pretty.

    Miss Cole: It's a pleasure! I love sharing the weirdest parts of nature (when I find them, anyway)

  8. Matt: *laughs* The jellyfish sticks its tongue at you.