Immortality is an age-old concept. Mythology as old as human history refers to people and animals who never die. But, for the most part, immortality is a fantasy-- right?
Well, right. Sort of. Surprisingly,
there are some animal species that, for whatever reason, have simply
decided that they don't like the idea of death and that they will have
no part in it.
These animals are functionally immortal. They never age,
and-- unless an outside force does them in-- they could theoretically
The Sea Anemone
lowly sea anemone doesn't look like an immortal animal. In fact, it
doesn't even look like an animal. In between swaying to the left,
swaying to the right, and occasionally swallowing a bit of debris, this
brainless polyp is busy defying everything we know about mortality.
sea anemone doesn't age as it gets older; it simply grows bigger.
Fortunately for those who find this a little creepy, none of them have
lived long enough to develop sentience yet-- they get wiped out at
around age 80 by heat, water pollution, infections and greedy
the sea anemone, the lobster is an . It has no brain, and its central
nevous system is about as simple as a common household insect.
lobsters have somehow figured out a way to defy aging as we know it.
Unlike people, lobsters don't experience any change in metabolism or
body-function as they get older.
A one-hundred-year-old lobster will
even continue eating, moving and making baby-lobsters without any sense
They also keep getting bigger-- meaning that, after a
couple-hundred years, they can be the size of a wolf, and capable of
scaring the living daylights out of anyone who's read the Dark Tower
The Aldabra Giant Tortoise
giant tortoises are exactly what they sound like-- freaking giant.
males can weigh nearly 800 pounds, which would make them the most
terrifying animals in the world if they ate meat and moved a little
Fortunately, Aldabra tortoises barely seem to notice humans
like us-- they aren't tame; they simply don't care.
their little reptilian brains, they are laughing at the fact that we get
old and die. We aren't sure just how long Aldabra tortoises live,
because they have a pesky tendency to live longer than the people
The oldest confirmed age of an Aldabra tortoise was 255
years, but some may have lived to be twice that age.
The Rougheye Rockfish
rougheye rockfish just sounds defiant.
In fact, I'd include a few more
desciptions-- like riptide, rugged, rumblin', radical and ravin'-- in
its name, but that would probably remind you too much of that douchebag
surfer-guy who smoked a joint with your sister ten years ago.
like that surfer-guy, the rockfish is incredibly ugly but makes up for
it by being defiant of everything.
Including mortality. A rougheye
rockfish, which is a functionally immortal animal, can live to be 200
years old or more, unless some guy with a fishing-pole manages to break
it of its persistent addiction to life.
The Immortal Jellyfish
name says all. When the immortal jellyfish gets tired of being a
sexually mature adult, it can decide to be a polyp-- that is, a baby--
To do this, the jellyfish (technically a medusa) turns itself
inside-out, then re-absorbs its tentacles and other dangly-bits.
land in its grave (or birth site) somewhere in the sand and becomes a
colony of tiny little polyps. It's like your grandpa deciding that he's
going to go to bed and turn into a few dozen fetuses-- only the immortal
jellyfish doesn't have dementia and actually will follow through on its
hydra is a nearly microscopic immortal animal, but what it lacks in
size it makes up for in stamina. (You probably know at least a handful
of men who use the same excuse with with their girlfriends.)
actually remarkably efficient predators; they release an explosion of
neurotoxins into their prey, paralyze it, and then consume the animal
Every single cell in the hydra's tiny body is constantly dividing
and rejuvenating, so any injured, polluted or defective cells are
diluted by the thousands of others.
Because they are constantly
replenishing their living cells, hydras do not age at all-- ever.
doesn't truly exist in practice, but, in theory, any of these immortal
animals really coulld manage to live forever.
Unfortunately for them
(and fortunately for us) environmental conditions do eventually destroy
every living "immortal" animal.