The Immortal Jellyfish

Photo: Immortal Jellyfish — via

Life is commonly represented as a circle because it is a never-ending cycle of birth, reproduction, and death. In the world of biology, organisms constantly undergo the circle of life and it would be mind boggling if an organism is not following this pattern of life.

Surprisingly enough, these organisms do exist on Earth. Scientists have discovered jellyfish that break out from the “normal” circle of life. These jellyfish are universally known as turritopsis dohrnii but are commonly called immortal jellyfish. As of now, it is the only organism to have biological immortality.

Once the jellyfish finishes reproducing young, instead of aging or dying off like other organisms, they revert back into their younger state. This process is commonly called transdifferentiation. To restart its life cycle again, the immortal jellyfish suffer an internal and external transformation. Inside the immortal jellyfish, the tissues from its circulatory canal system shrink back to its polyp state (a sac with two layers of cells) again. As the tissue decrease in size, the tentacles and bodies shrink in size, and they plummet to the ocean floor. According to scientists, as long as the jellyfish reaches maturity transdifferentiation can be done not only once but numerous times.

In addition to their fascinating way of de-aging, immortal jellyfish originate from the Caribbean Sea and the Mediterranean. Due to their warm habitat, immortal jellyfish are barely visible but are described by scientists to be “bell-shaped” and approximately 0.18 inch in height. They have a simple diet of fish roe and plankton, and can potentially have up to ninety tentacles in its lifetime.

Although there are many mysteries regarding the immortal jellyfish, immortal jellyfish have the superpower to de-age and live for eternity. This makes them the only organism on earth to defy the circle of life.

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