Ever wished to live forever? While immortality might sound like a subject for movies or novels, it’s actually a reality – but in the animal kingdom. Believe it or not, there are animals out there who push the limits of longevity. In today’s blog, we’re shedding light on 10 Animals That Are Immortal So, let’s dive in!
The concept of immortality among animals can sometimes be more complex than simply living forever. Issues such as their capability to die from disease or injury and their ability to reproduce indefinitely are considered. Sometimes they live up to thousands of years if not killed by predators like us.
Top 10 Animals that are considered immortal:
1. Turritopsis dohrnii: The Immortal Jellyfish
Meet the star of immortality: the Turritopsis dohrnii! Commonly known as the Immortal Jellyfish, this extraordinary creature has a unique ability to transform itself back to a juvenile state, effectively hitting the “reset button” on its life.
Whenever it experiences stress, illness, or injury, Turritopsis dohrnii reverts to its polyp phase, developing into a fully-grown jellyfish once again. The process goes on indefinitely, making this small, transparent ocean-dweller a true marvel in the world of immortal animals.
2. Bdelloids: Ancient Asexuals
Tiny but tenacious, Bdelloids are a group of microscopic animals known as rotifers. These astonishing beings have evolved a remarkable toolkit of survival skills that enables them to withstand some of the most extreme conditions, from desiccation to radiation exposure.
For over 40 million years, Bdelloids have thrived without sexual reproduction, using only asexual means to create an army of clones. This extraordinary ability to survive, adapt, and reproduce has led scientists to view them as another prime example of immortal animals.
3. Planarian Flatworms: Masters of Regeneration
The amazing world of immortal creatures wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the wonder of Planarian Flatworms. Known for their remarkable regenerative capabilities, these humble creatures can regenerate any injured or lost body parts, even a new head with the brain intact! This capability allows them to live indefinitely, bordering on the fringes of immortality.
4. Ocean Quahog: The Long-Lived Clam
Venture beneath the waves, and you’ll discover one of the longest-lived animals on our planet: The Ocean Quahog. These inconspicuous marine clams are known to live for hundreds of years, with the oldest recorded specimen reaching an astounding age of 507 years! They are a testament to Mother Nature’s capacity for remarkable longevity. Although not technically ‘immortal’, the Ocean Quahog’s impressive lifespan certainly earns it a spot on our list.
5. Hydra: Forever Young
The Hydra, related to jellyfish and corals, steals the show with its regenerative abilities. Thanks to a gene named ‘FoxO,’ they can keep regenerating without ageing – a ticket to potential immortality.
Every 20 days, the whole organism renews itself, it doesn’t age or die, You can cut little pieces out of the animal and it will regrow. The most amazing thing is that you can dissociate the animal into single cells, mix them all up, put them back in a ball and a new Hydra will just grow out of it.
Human cells get old over time and eventually stop dividing, but Hydra’s cells are forever young. It’s like they have their own eternal fountain of youth!
They keep creating new cells and just don’t get old. That’s why scientists call them “biologically immortal.” But remember, they can still get gobbled up by a hungry fish or catch a nasty disease – so they’re not completely unbeatable.
6. Lobsters: The Aging Defiers
Surprisingly, one of the ocean’s most common residents, the lobster, can live for over 100 years or more! Some argue they may be biologically immortal – that is, they don’t die of old age. Lobsters continue growing, molting, and reproducing till the end.
However, as lobsters grow older, molting requires more energy, and some simply cannot muster the strength, leading to their death. Still, due to their impressive regenerative abilities and continuous reproduction, they have earned a place on our list of top 10 immortal animals.
7. Tardigrades: The Indestructible Wonder
Also known as “water bears” or “moss piglets,” Tardigrades are microscopic creatures that possess remarkable survival skills. While not precisely immortal in the traditional sense, they can withstand extreme conditions such as intense radiation, dehydration, and temperatures ranging from -272°C to 150°C.
These invertebrates can enter a “cryptobiotic state,” where they dry out, shut down their metabolism, and remain dormant until conditions are more favorable. Once rehydrated, they can continue living and reproducing as if nothing happened. Their extraordinary resilience and tenacity strengthen their position among the seemingly immortal creatures.
8. Sea Anemones
Anemones have been documented to live one hundred years, but scientists believe they can live much longer. A sea anemone doesn’t age as it gets older; it simply grows bigger. Sea anemones are not considered immortal, but they do have remarkable regenerative abilities.
If a sea anemone loses a hunk or a tentacle, it can grow it back. This ability to regenerate body parts is often associated with immortality, but it doesn’t mean that sea anemones can live forever. They can still be affected by diseases, predators, and environmental factors that can impact their lifespan.
9. Red Sea Urchins: Ageless Spiky Creatures
Diving back under the sea, our list of top 10 immortal animals takes us to meet the Red Sea Urchins. These spiky, round animals might be common residents of the ocean world, but there is nothing common about their ageing process. In fact, scientists say Red Sea Urchins don’t age at all!
They can live for at least 100 years, but that’s not what makes them incredible. What sets them apart is that the oldest and the youngest Red Sea Urchins appear almost the same. Both in terms of their physical body and their vitality, they simply do not show natural signs of ageing.
Yes, they can be killed by diseases or predators, but left undisturbed, these spikey sea-dwellers may just keep living and living. And that’s enough to slip them into our inventory of the immortal(ish)!
10. Glass Sponges
Next on our list are the fascinating Glass Sponges. These captivating marine creatures, known scientifically as Hexactinellida, have been present on our planet since the Jurassic Period – yes, we’re talking about the time of the dinosaurs!
Glass Sponges get their name from their uniquely constructed skeletons made from silica, giving them a “glass-like” appearance. These deep-water dwellers are found at great ocean depths, and they indeed live up to their ‘living fossil’ status with their impressive longevity up to 15,000 years.
Much like their Antarctic counterparts, Glass Sponges grow extremely slowly, mainly due to the cold, nutrient-poor environments they inhabit. This slow pace extends their lifespans considerably. Case in point, a particular species named Monorhaphis chuni is known to live for over 11,000 years!
Isn’t it fascinating just how diverse and strange the world of ‘immortal’ animals is? While these animals may not be able to grant us immortality, they surely offer insights into the nature of ageing and survival. Maybe in future research, humans could unlock the secrets to longevity. Until then, here’s to life, in all its captivating variety!