View Full Version : immortal jellyfish

05-19-2012, 04:27 AM

:Turritopsis nutricula, the immortal jellyfish, is a hydrozoan whose medusa, or jellyfish, form can revert to the polyp stage after becoming sexually mature. It is the only known case of a metazoan capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature, colonial stage after having reached sexual maturity as a solitary stage.[2][3] It does this through the cell development process of transdifferentiation. Cell transdifferentiation is when the jellyfish "alters the differentiated state of the cell and transforms it into a new cell". In this process the medusa of the immortal jellyfish is transformed into the polyps of a new polyp colony. First, the umbrella reverts itself and then the tentacles and mesoglea get resorbed. The reverted medusa then attaches itself to the substrate by the end that had been at the opposite end of the umbrella and starts giving rise to new polyps to form the new colony. Theoretically, this process can go on indefinitely, effectively rendering the jellyfish biologically immortal,[3][4] although in nature, most Turritopsis, like other medusae, are likely to succumb to predation or disease in the plankton stage, without reverting to the polyp form.[5] No single specimen has been observed for any extended period, so it is not currently possible to estimate the age of an individual, and so even if this species has the potential for immortality, there is no laboratory evidence of many generations surviving from any individual.

Weird, isn't it?

05-19-2012, 05:08 AM
This reminds me of the futile attempt of adolescent girls with Anorexia nervosa, to starve themselves into pre-sexual beings. Maybe because I work with disturbed adolescents is why this comes to mind. Unable to handle the responsibilities that goes along with increasing psychosexual development, they lose body fat to the extent that breasts, hips, and buttocks flatten out to the muscle layer. Owing to survival mechanisms and loss of electrolytes, their menstrual cycle stops. Anorexics often continue until death occurs. Another aspect of attempted human devolution, eternal childhood (puella Šternus), regression in the service of the ego.

05-19-2012, 05:25 AM
Interesting comparison.
In my own case, they reminded me of one of my pets, Cthulhu, the Axolotl (I didn't choose that name, I don't specially like Lovecraft... the previous owner of Cthulhu gave him that name). Anyway...
Axolotls have evolved in a weird way that makes them keep their larval phase for their whole life, even though they do develop their sexual system and are able to reproduce remaining technically a foetus.

They are also able to grow again any part of their own body that got damaged/cut as long as losing that part didn't cause them death (limbs, tail, eyes, parts of the brain, whatever, etc).

Some sort of Puer Aeternus... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puer_aeternus

05-19-2012, 08:15 PM
In that book I mentioned under another Thread, Five Years of Theosophy, it describes an advanced state reached by a continuously-evolving person that like your example, also resembles the commong guinea-worm. The quote by the anonymous author is as follows:

"It [guinea-worm] has a complicated organism, but it has no ejaculatory duct. All it consumes - the poorest essences of the human body - is applied to its growth and propagation. Living as it does in a human tissue, it passes no digested food away. The human neophyte, at a certain stage of his development, is in a somewhat analogous condition, with this difference or differences, that he does excrete, but it is through the pores of his skin, and by those too enter other etherealized particles of matter to contribute towards his support. He is in a state similar to the physical state of a foetus before birth into the world" (p. 25).

I believe practical alchemy, and the spirit of a continuously-evolving person, can theoretically make us live for, what would be, a very long life. Not immortal, not forever in physicality, but certainly a good 300 years.