Do We Have to Get Old and Die?

Do We Have to Get Old and Die?

We’d like to thank Focus Features for sponsoring this video – and for inviting us to pre-screen their summer 2015 film “Self/Less”. It’s a sci-fi flick that explores memory, consciousness, and immortality, and it made us think about the types of immortality that already exist here on Earth. A big thanks to Focus Features for supporting MinuteEarth!

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Want to learn more about the topic in this week’s video? Here are some key words/phrases to get your googling started:
– negligible senescence: not showing signs of age-related progression
– biological immortality: having a mortality rate that does not increase with increasing age


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Aubert, G. & Lansdorp, P. M. (2008) Telomeres and aging. Physiological Review 88(2): 557–579.

Bavestrello, G. Sommer, C., and Sará, M. 1992. Bi-directional conversion in Turritopsis nutricula. In Aspects of Hydrozoan Biology. (J. Bouillon et al., editors). Scientia Marina 56 (2-3): 137-140.

Buffenstein R. (2008) Negligible senescence in the longest living rodent, the naked mole rat: Insights from a successfully aging species. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 178: 439-445.

Finch, C.E. (1998) Variations in senescence and longevity include the possibility of negligible senescence. Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences 53A(4): B235–239.

Piraino, S., Boero, F., Aeschbach, B., Schmid, V. (1996) Reversing the life cycle: medusae transforming into polyps and cell transdifferentiation in Turritopsis nutricula (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa). Biological Bulletin 190: 302-312.

Tian, X., Azpurua, J., Hine, C., Vaidya, A., Myakishev-Rempel, M., Ablaeva, J., Mao, Z., Nevo, E., Gorbunova, V., & Seluanov, A. (2013) High-molecular-mass hyaluronan mediates the cancer resistance of the naked mole rat. Nature 499: 346–349.

Image Credits: Nake Mole Rat – Buffenstein/Barshop Institute/UTHSCSA

Naked Mole Rat – Roman Klementschitz, Wien

Chipmunk – Gilles Gonthier

Capybara – Karoly Lorentey

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