Being immortal is often associated with some species and even with human beings by some superstitious people. Having more than one life is the perception of many people. However, we all know that no one is immortal in this planet. It is a very astonishing fact that scientists have recently revealed the presence of immortal species.
The immortal species that are recently given by the scientists is the jellyfish. This particular type of jellyfish is Turritopsis nutricula who has the capability to revert its cells in its earliest form and hence to start growing in a new form. It is the form of animal species that is capable of reverting back to the sexually immature form while reaching sexual maturity.
They are very small in size, mostly from four to five millimeters long and according to scientists they have infinite lives. Its Medusa is bell shaped with a maximum of 4.5 millimeters. In the walls of the bell, the jelly is thin and it started expanding at the apex. These are found for the first time back in 1883 in the Mediterranean Sea and in the waters of Japan.
The origin of the Turritopsis is found in the pacific but they spread in various parts of the world through Trans arctic migrations. They are found in majority in tropical or moderate regions in various oceans. Not all of these species have immortal lives as some have fixed life span. The Medusa is only known to have the capability to return to its polyp stage by a specific transformation procedure of converting its old cells into the new cells.
Various researches and laboratory experiments have been conducted and the results have revealed that all stages of Medusa can transform back to the polyps.
The fact that they have infinite lives, however, remains uncovered at that time. The unique feature of its regeneration was not known until 1990s, when the thorough research was conducted and hence its immortal nature was revealed.
So far, it is the only species that has been found to have infinite lives. The main question is how its regeneration process works? When the Turritopsis nutricula jellyfish becomes mature, it goes deep into the sea to the surface and attaches itself to the surface of warm water of the ocean and converts itself into the blob.
In that state of its conversion into the blob, it transforms its cells into different types of cells. Its muscle cells transform into sperms or eggs while nerve cells converted into the muscle cells. But the species can die as the regeneration only occurs after the sexual maturation. They can either disease in the polyp stage or they grow up as the predators.
Scientists are studying more about them so that they can apply it to human issues of aging and illness.
Turritopsis nutricula give rise to polyps once it attaches itself to the surface of the ocean. The polyps and jellyfish arise from identical clones. However, polyps convert itself into the branched form which is not seen in case of jellyfish. Jellyfish continue living its life as a free swimming form until it become sexually mature.
When it is mature, it started preying on other species of jellyfish. Because of the environmental condition that the jellyfish faces, it started reverting itself to the polyp stage. This procedure is known as transdifferentiation where the old cell converts themselves into the new form of cells. Here, the new life of the jellyfish starts. This procedure is repeated for infinite times and this is the reason why they are labeled as ‘immortal’.
Not in all cases, they revert to the polyp stage as they may disease without reverting.