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!