On this New Year’s Day, I’m excited to tackle the challenges the future will bring! But this exhilaration is tempered a bit by the realization that the holiday-mandated relaxation period will soon be over. During these holidays, I’ve been unwinding by watching nature documentaries — particularly BBC selections narrated by the incomparable Sir David Attenborough.
I’m fascinated most by episodes about the oceans, and I particularly love hearing about my favourite sea creatures, jellyfish! We solid bipeds might only think of them as either goopy blobs on beaches, or venomous menaces that ruin your swim first by causing stinging pain, then by obliging someone to urinate on you. (The efficacy of that strategy is a myth, by the way!) The Conversation has a breakdown of some of the coolest jellyfish facts that you can bust out around the water cooler when you return to work — including, my personal fave, the fact that some species of jellyfish are effectively immortal.
“Many jellies have evolved unique abilities, some of which seem almost supernatural. […] The pièce de résistance is surely their second chance at youth. When conditions are unfavourable, certain species including compass, barrel, and moon jellyfish can reverse their development and effectively turn back into jelly-children in order to wait out the hard times.”
This youth-cycling happens on a cellular level, and is actually right up there with stem cells as a possible solution to the human aging process. Hopefully, this remains a fun fact for you, rather than a fervently wished for dream resulting from overindulgence last night! Happy New Year, and here’s to a 2018 filled with natural marvels and technological breakthroughs.