Turritopsis dohrnii is a jellyfish nicknamed the “Benjamin Button Jellyfish” because it can reverse the process of aging. Christian Sommer discovered it in 1988 on the ocean floor near Portofino, Italy when he was a marine-biology student. After observing it over several days in a petri dish, he discovered that it can revert back to its earliest stage of development, the polyp, and then start its life cycle all over again. It can escape death entirely. Scientists believe it might hold the clues to immortality….even for us.
That was an absurd idea before the Human Genome Project uncovered the genetic makeup of humans and we learned we have a large genetic overlap with other life forms. And jellyfish have far more complex genomes than we ever imagined. In fact, Kevin Peterson, a molecular paleobiologist at Dartmouth said, “There’s a shocking amount of genetic similarity between jellyfish and human beings.” Botox look out. Perhaps we can become younger and not just look younger. Over 4000 years ago Utnapishtim told Gilgamesh that the secret to immortality lay in a coral found on the ocean floor. Perhaps it does.