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Image: via svichet

Turritopsis nutricula

Have you ever wondered what would happen if our life cycles were reversed – that is, if we were born old and died young? Well, there’s one animal that comes close and has achieved immortality in the process, just to top it off. Meet Turritopsis nutricula, a small saltwater animal, or hydrozoan, related to jellyfish and corals.


Image: Clinton Steeds

Polyp stage of a jellyfish

Like most jellyfish, Turritopsis nutricula undergoes two distinct stages in its life cycle: the polypoid or immature stage, when it’s just a small stalk with feeding tentacles; and the medusa or mature stage when the only 1mm-long polyps asexually produce jellyfish.

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Image: via the-amazing

Turritopsis nutricula in its aptly named medusa form with a bright red stomach

A jellyfish’s lifespan usually ranges from somewhere between a few hours, for the smallest species, to several months, and rarely to a few years for the bigger species. How does the only 4-5 mm long Turritopsis nutricula (let’s call it T’nut) manage to beat the system?

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