Ever since humanity first realized that death was inevitable we have been trying to cheat it. Religion is the most obvious example of this. Without exception, the religions of the world have convinced their followers that they are immortal. And despite the evidence of our senses (and a rotting corpse is one big stinking piece of evidence) most of the world believes that, in one way or another, they will live forever.
It is a desire that most people have and, while I don’t completely share it, I do understand. Everyone wants to live longer. Thanks to science, we have more than doubled the average lifespan of homo sapiens sapiens. But for some, that just isn’t enough.
Is there any hope? Can we become like the products of our imagination, like Doctor Who and Highlander? Or are we stuck with the knowledge that every last one of us will eventually shuffle off this mortal coil?
There may be hope. And it comes…in the form of a jellyfish.
Jellyfish usually die after propagating; however, the Turritopsis nutricula has developed the ability to return to a polyp state. This is done through a cell change in the external screen (exumbrella). The ability to reverse the life cycle is probably unique in the animal kingdom, and allows the jellyfish to bypass death, rendering the Turritopsis nutricula biologically immortal.
So all we need to do is find out a way to, biologically, return to our sexual immaturity after we reproduce. It couldn’t be simpler!
Or, perhaps, we should just come to terms with the fact that everyone dies, and live as best as we can while we’re here.
I think I’ll go with the latter. But if there are any genetic engineers out there who think they can pull the former off, email me.