Meet the animal that refuses to die

A new video from NPR reporters Robert Krulwich and Adam Cole profiles the seemingly immortal Hydra

By Joanna Rothkopf

Published September 26, 2014 6:07PM (EDT)


Everything dies, right? Wrong, actually. According to NPR reporters Robert Krulwich and Adam Cole, an organism called the hydra has achieved biological immortality in a lab setting.

The extremely charming video below tells the story of a scientist named Daniel Martinez who decided, quite simply, to get some hydra and watch them until they died. This was in the 1990s--they haven't shown any signs of senescence (or biological mortality) yet.

This is weird, explains Krulwich, because in biology, there is a correlation between the age one has babies and the age that one dies. If you're a fly, for instance, you have your babies after a few weeks, and die after a few months. If you're an elephant, you wait 13 years to have babies and then die when you're 40 or 50. Hydra reproduce after only a few days, but so far have shown no signs of coming close to dying, even though they technically should have after a number of weeks.

Watch the video below to find out why.

Joanna Rothkopf

MORE FROM Joanna RothkopfFOLLOW @joannarothkopf

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Biology Death Hydra Immortality Senescence Video