The curious life of the immortal jellyfish. Over the centuries has always existed myths of immortality – the divine ability to live forever. Scientists, in particular marine biologists, are responsible for the discovery of the creatures closest to immortality – jellyfish.
Jellyfish are special beings in many ways. For example, they have no brain, no heart. They only have a hole through which food enters and waste out. In fact, they eat through the anus.
Jellyfish are also the best swimmers in the ocean. They use less energy to spend some distance from any other creature in the oceans. How do you get this extra performance?
First, they push the water in the opposite direction from the one where they want to go, which is much more efficient than to push sideways as fish.
Secondly, when their body-shaped bell tightens and relaxes creates two vortices or rotating rings of water. First away from the jellyfish, while the second turns and sucks the water, further pushing the jellyfish forward. Thus, jellyfish can travel an additional 30% of the distance without using energy.
So far, there is only one species of jellyfish which unofficially named immortal jellyfish and officially name and “Turritopsis dohrnii”. They are the only known species that is capable of fully restoring a sexually immature stage after they reach their maturity.
Although it is eternal, it seems to be present everywhere. Transmitted around the world via ships carrying cargo (ships have special water tanks, that filled after unloading of cargo, to maintain stability and balance during the voyage, so that water can have such jellyfish).
Adult male immortal jellyfish ejects his sperm into the waters of the ocean, and some of it ends up in the female jellyfish, where it is fertilized. A short time later, the female ejects small larvae called planned that after a while dive to the bottom and attach themselves to a rock. Then completely change the shape and turn into columns of branching polyps.
A few days later, again change the shape and small jellyfish (about one millimeter in diameter) are separated from the tops of polyps and sail through the waters like a miniature caps with tentacles. After two to four weeks, they become sexually mature individuals, now the size of about 5 mm in diameter. Their red belly can be seen through the transparent body. They feed on plankton, small mollusks, fish eggs and larvae.
Perhaps almost immortal, but not resistant to all kinds of threats from the environment. They can be eaten by other larger creatures, or be killed in a way that will hoover valves for nuclear power plants, which means they can still die.
Immortality was more about when these jellyfish survive attack, hunger or some sort of stress from the environment. Rather than die like other creatures, they are first converted into a small ball and then returning to the stage of polyps over the three days. They regroup as a colony of polyps and remain attached to the rocks.
These new polyps are genetically identical to the original jellyfish, but just look different. Does that mean that the original jellyfish died? Not really.
It is similar like a butterfly rather die again turned into gaenica, chicken or the egg, or when we humans could endlessly pass from nursing babies. Technically, the process is a kind of regeneration, but it’s the closest thing we have to immortality.