The Curious Case of Turritopsis

The Immortal Jellyfish

The idea of ageing backwards might seem like the kind of far-fetched tale that only the likes of Brad Pitt could sell, but for some of our distant, under-water cousins, it’s just a really bad day. A few unusual jellyfish species have evolved the ability to completely rearrange the cells in their bodies and return to an earlier life stage. They use this curious talent to deal with times of stress; if adult jellyfish (medusa) find themselves in unfavourable conditions, they can simple revert to their juvenile form and wait it out until things improve. Scientists believe this may enable them to endure poor environments and ultimately spread across the globe into regions other jellyfish cannot reach.

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