Allow me to add this to the list of things I’m just in no way, shape, or form okay with.
This is the turritopsis nutricula, and according to a brief article I read this morning, it is immortal.
Yes. This jellyfish is immortal.
According to the author and the scientists he cites, this amorphous bastard has the ability to revert from its fully grown adult form back into a mere zygote of its former self, and then grow back to maturity again. It can do this whenever it wants, as many times as it wants. As such, scientists are unable to tell just how old any individual member of the species is. Could be 10 days. Could be 10 decades.
The scientific name for this ability is transdifferentiation. It’s not uncommon; some of our four-legged friends can regenerate organs and regrow limbs. But nobody’s ever encountered an animal that can alter its entire being like these heretical and no doubt exceedingly vain jellies.
Here’s why you should be worried. As one of the scientists in the article points out, if these creatures can live forever if they avoid predation, who’s going to stop them from taking over the seas? My main concern, however, is with how much time and money is going to be spent trying to unlock the secrets of the ageless jellies, and with what’s going to happen once somebody somewhere does.
Anybody ever see Logan’s Run?