Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The World's Only Immortal Animal

Being a huge Highlander fan with no belief in an afterlife, I have to say that I'm jealous:

If you’re thinking McLeod, you couldn’t be further from the truth. What you have to do is think small; not microscopic, just big enough to see with your naked eye. Turritopsis nutricula is a hydrozoan, and it’s considered by scientists to be the only animal that cheated death.

Solitary organisms are (according to current belief) doomed to die, after they completed their life cycle. Hydrozoa are a huge class of predatory animals that live mostly in saltwater, closely related to jellyfish and corals. Eggs and sperm from an adult jellyfish (medusa) and they then develop into polyp stage. Medusae evolve asexually from polyps.

Still, our Turritopsis nutricula (could we call it Joe??) managed to find a way to beat that. What these little folks do is they revert completely to a sexually immature, colonial stage after they reach sexual maturity. They’re even cooler than that. When they’re young they’ve got only several tentacles, but at a mature stage, they get to 80-90 of them.

They’re able to return to polyp stage due to a cell change in the external screen (Exumbrella), which allows them to bypass death. As far as scientists have been able to find out, this change renders the hydrozoa virtually immortal.

But then again: is a life without sex a life still worth living? My brain says yes but I suspect that it's merely lying to my penis on this one.


Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

I like the name you gave the thing JBW. As far as life without sex goes, I guess that depends on whom you have to have sex with.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
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Van Zan said...


I'm quite fond of sex, to be sure, but I think a life without sex is definitely worth living.

Remember... you got by without sex just fine when you were a kid, and those years may have been the most carefree and happy years of your life. Think of all the things you love about life... like a cup of coffee in the morning, the sunlight on your face on a summer day... books, music, movies, news, conversation... I'm sure the list would be endless. Unless you got a radically different lifestyle you probably get more of all those than you do of sex. THOSE are all the things you wouldn't want to be without.

A friend of mine used to say - and I think he was right - that sex is " 5 percent perspiration and 95 percent inspiration ".

It's the romance dude! It's being a man to a woman regardless of whether you're having sex that's the really cool thing.

Highlander had a big impact on me when I was at a very impressionable age. Somehow it makes you hungry for what the world has to offer. But I wouldn't want to live forever...
There is just "your time". And it's NOW. And it has magic precisely because it doesn't come again.
Was being a kid fun? Yeah, it was. Would you want to be one again? Probably not.

Anonymous said...

I think that is a fantastic post, Van Zan. Bravo.

Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

So you're divorced. Right Grace?

Intrepid Californio said...

Ask your penis in about 40 years.

JBW said...

I just hope he's still talking in 40 years.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
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Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
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Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

YOu sure know how to take the fun out of things Grace. I'll say that for you Sister.

JBW said...

OK, I felt bad even considering this option but I feel compelled to do it. I'm instituting a blog-wide call for a halt to all correspondence with Grace. Nothing against you honey, but your extraordinarily long ramblings are unreadable to pretty much everyone here and you've almost completely monopolized the comment thread at the right of the site.

I'm not saying you can't frequent or comment on this blog; just think before you write. These extraordinarily frequent meandering screeds of yours may blend well into the fabric of Don's site but this is a fairly small blog with a pretty limited readership (a readership I enjoy and respect) and you're discouraging them from commenting and driving people away.

I guess what I'm saying is: restrain yourself. I am anathema to censoring free-speech but when that speech is predominantly crazy religious ramblings that intimidate others from contributing and having a good time, I feel compelled to step in and regulate.

I'm sure you understand, Grace. Please don't read this as a persecution of your religion (which I am happy to do but it's just not the case in this instance).

Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Can I relate the story of how my Labrador went apeshit. Chewed up my Bible. Embraced satan and pissed on my new rug so I divorced him?

Anonymous said...

No, you may not.