'Immortal' jellyfish roams Earth's oceans

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Immortal Jellyfish Roams The Earth's Oceans

For centuries humans have searched far and wide for a way to live forever. Meanwhile, a species of jellyfish may have already figured out. The Turritopsis dohrnii is believed to be the only creature in existence capable of continuous regeneration, perhaps forever.

While largely considered immortal, they're not invincible. They die if they're burned, removed from water, eaten or stricken with disease. But when not threatened by any outside factors, these gelatinous beings are able to continuously restart their life cycles.

Once they reproduce, they revert back to a sexually-immature polyp. This also includes their tentacles and bodies shrinking, only to be re-grown as the jellyfish matures again. This metamorphosis has only been observed in a lab setting, thanks to the dedicated efforts of one Japanese scientist, Shin Kubota, who remarks, "We really don't know their lifespan. They might live forever."

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'Immortal' jellyfish roams Earth's oceans
Immortal jellyfish, Turritopsis nutricula, Sarigerme Turkey
Immortal jellyfish, Turritopsis nutricula, Sarigerme Turkey
Immortal jellyfish, Turritopsis nutricula, Sarigerme Turkey
FLORIDA, USA: Turritopsis medusa from Florida. Turritopsis is the world's only immortal animal. A hydrozoan which reverts to the polyp stage when starved or damaged where they are able to revert their life cycle, through a process called transdifferentiation. Turritopsis is now spreading across the world due to them being taken on board ships in ballast water and then being discharged in another port when a cargo is loaded. (Photo by Stefano Piraino / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
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At the adult stage, they only measure 4.5 millimeters. Even when a jellyfish gets hurt, they heal themselves by returning to the polyp stage for three days, before becoming an adult again.

The species is believed to live in every ocean in the world, Scientists hope to unlock the key to eternal life for humans by studying the species, but unfortunately they're not easy to maintain in captivity. The ideal environment for reproduction is still being figured out, and so far only Kubota has successfully maintained a brood of jellyfish.

What medicinal purposes these jellyfish might potentially hold is yet to be seen. Luckily for scientists, the species may never go extinct.

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