Nature has produced a huge variety of living animals, from the day long life of the mayfly, to the incredible immortal jelly fish. What can we learn from studying these different animals, and how can that help us achieve our dreams of prolonging our youth or even… living forever?
Hormonal differences from mice to elephants point the direction towards the secret of youthfulness.
While elephants may be scared of mice, they live up to 10 times longer! Growth hormones may be the reason behind this, and show a natural diversity throughout animal species. IGF-1 is a type of growth hormone which is found at a higher level in mice than in elephants. Higher levels of IGF-1 are associated with a faster aging. In females specifically it promotes an earlier age of sexual maturity and correlates to giving birth to smaller offspring.
The incredible immortal jelly fish, will we ever use the same stem-cell powers to live forever?
The incredible immortal jelly fish (Turritopsis nutricula) is an evolutionary marvel. The species is truly immortal and achieves this through a specialized stem cell. The jellyfish has mastered the process of transdifferentiation, which is when an adult cell can revert back into a youthful state. It uses this mechanism to “reverse [it’s] life cycle” to the polyp stage even after becoming sexually mature, explains one of the world’s leading jelly-fish experts Professor Ferdinando Boero. “All stages of the Turritopsis nutricula, […] can transform back into [immature juveniles], thus escaping death and achieving potential immortality.”
There is much to be learnt from the variations of lifespans found within the animal kingdom.
Animals have been inspiring scientists for decades! Jellyfish have already given the valuable technology of fluorescence, which is now used in thousands of experiments and protocols worldwide. The more we study the natural world, the more we can learn from our discoveries and the more insight we’ll uncover into how we can live our wildest dreams of eternal youth.