Those of you who remember Frank Sinatra singing ‘Swing on a Star’ may remember the line ‘Or would you rather be a fish?.
An alternative was ‘or would you rather be a pig?’ but let’s not go there. Being a fish is not an option most of us would choose but if scientists are right a certain jellyfish seems to have the secret of eternal life. An interesting discovery bearing in mind the sad truth that despite the millions spent on the vast range of treatments designed to ward off the ageing process no-one has yet succeeded in prolonging life itself. Except for this newly discovered miniature marine creature.
The tiny Turritopsis nutricula is a very primitive sea creature and called the ‘immortal medusa’ because it has a unique quality. Once it reaches sexual maturity it just reverts to its original form and begins the ageing process all over again. And again and again. This does seem a much better solution than just getting older and older although, if the technique could be applied to humans, some thought would have to be taken on how far back you would want to go. Starting life again as a baby may not be the solution everyone would want although it would make you the smartest kid in the nursery.
Turritopsis which incidentally has no brain, no heart and a combination mouth and anus (like some men I have met) starts off life as a form of polyp attached to a rock until it matures into a jellyfish, detaches itself and swims away. Then on reaching maturity it reattaches itself to a rock and turns back into a polyp before growing once again into a new jellyfish. A bit like a butterfly turning back into a chrysalis. A great trick if we could do it.