While Pixar's Finding Nemo may have given the sea anemone its "15 minutes of fame" (scroll down to the end of the article to watch that adorable moment again), ILoveNature thinks this deceptively simple animal might just be making a comeback!
The sea anemone is able to defy the natural aging process because its cells are continuously replenishing themselves. To cite just one example, the sea anemone can miraculously repair itself and grow a new tentacle when one gets broken off. As long as it doesn't fall prey to external threats in its environment, the sea anemone lives on and on! This intriguing ability to live forever has raised the interest of scientists who are studying how they do it - and in the process, hopefully stumble onto the secret to eternal life.
What scientists know now is that sea anemones can vary greatly in size, from a few centimeters to over a meter, and they can be found in every ocean regardless of its temperature. They live off small fish and shrimp immobilized by a poison the sea anemone's tentacles release.
Surprisingly, sea anemones and humans have a lot in common. They both can exert voluntary control over their mouth; they both have an intestinal system for food digestion, and they both have a nervous system. Although less organized than that of humans, the nervous system in a sea anemone contains a complex network of neurons that allows them to respond to stimuli and be active predators.
Scientists have not yet identified the gene that explains how sea anemones appear to thwart the aging process, but once they do, these ground breaking developments could be applied to humans.
Looking young forever may sound magical, but is immortality in humans healthy?
Does what works for the sea anemone work for humans?
What is true is that discovering how the sea anemone regenerates would have far-reaching implications. Such a breakthrough would be life-changing! 😉
Would you want to live forever? Let us know how you feel in the comments section!
And keep scrolling down for the Finding Nemo clip!
Author: Gal Shyli Dayan