The immortal jellyfish

Can you imagine being immortal, or reaching old age and then instead of dying, going back and starting again as a baby?

The jellyfish can do this. These amazing animals start their life as larvae, known as planula, swirling around in the ocean. They then settle on the seafloor and become static polyps before transforming into swimming medusa.

But, if at any stage immortal jellyfish experience injury or stress from changes in their environment, they can go backwards to the polyp stage and start again. And they can do this over and over if they don’t become dinner for other animals.


Longest-living vertebrate

Greenland sharks live for between 300 and 500 years and are the longest-living vertebrate. They move very slowly, at an average of 0.76 mph and grow about a centimetre every year!

Despite their huge size and long lifespan though, these sharks have been a mystery to scientists for years. It was only recently that they discovered a new method of estimating age that involves radiocarbon dating the lens of the eye. New tissues are added to the lens every year and it is possible to tell the age by how much carbon isotope is present in the tissues.


World’s oldest land animal

Guinness World Records recognises Jonathan, the 189-year-old tortoise, as the world’s oldest land animal. Jonathan is believed to have far exceeded the typical 150-year lifespan of his species to become the world’s oldest living land animal.

He came to the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, in the South Atlantic, around 1882, with his age at the time figured to be around 50 years old. Believed to be a rare Seychelles giant tortoise, he was intended to be a gift to the governor of the Overseas British Territory at the time, William Grey-Wilson, and has lived on the grounds of the governor’s mansion ever since. Jonathan shares the property with three other shelled friends: David, Emma, and Fred.


Panda’s diet

Panda’s must eat 25 to 90 pounds (12-38 kg) of bamboo every day to meet their energy needs. This is because bamboo contains very little nutritional value, so they have to eat it in vast quantities to survive.

Although the giant panda possess the digestive system of a carnivore, they have evolved to depend almost entirely on bamboo.


Colossal Lego’s Colosseum set

A Lego set based on the Roman Colosseum broke a Guinness World Record by being composed of 9,036 pieces.

The Colosseum set, designed by a team led by Rok Zgalin Kobe, was verified by Guinness as being the largest commercially available Lego set.

Kobe said some liberties were taken with the design to make it more strongly resemble what the Colosseum might have looked like when construction was completed in 80 A.D.

“It’s been weathered under the Roman sun, so the Lego version provides more colour in order to better accentuate some of the details,” Kobe said.

He said he has built the set several times, and each time it took him over 30 hours.

Published in Dawn, Young World, April 3rd, 2021

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