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  • Falak Vadhan


Everything that lives , must one day die , right ?? Well……maybe not everything . Consider the HYDRA also known as the Hydra vulgaris . It’s named after a many headed monster from Greek mythology - chop off one head and two grown in its place . That the myth isn’t too far FAR away from the real hydra’s death defying abilities . Let's closely examine a few of hydra's peculiar abilities.

They are cousins to jellyfish -- see the resemblance ?? But hydra live in freshwater. Its body is a hollow column with walls only 2 cells thick !! Its head is just a bunch of tentacles surrounding its mouth . If you are thinking that hydra might have basic features like eyes or brain , let me tell you - you are wrong ! You won’t believe that the whole thing is about as long as a grain of rice . The hungry hydra stretches out its tentacles to snag swimming prey . Microscopic harpoons hook the prey , injecting it with paralyzing neurotoxins . Then , the food is down the hatch .

Using these nutrients to produce new hydra is the hydra's most crucial and significant task.Hydras asexually reproduce by BUDDING - a process in which a clone sprouts right from the side of hydra . Hydra can reproduce sexually too …. But they prefer cloning themselves . Hydra are constantly regenerating their own body too…..replacing all of their cells in a flat 20 days . Just imagine shedding off all your body cells and creating new ones - hydra does something very similar . They can do that because roughly half of the cells in their bodies are stem cells which can develop into all the different types of specialized cells you need to build - or rebuild an entire body . Stem cells only make up a tiny percentage of our body and our stem cells degrade - THAT’S WHY WE AGE !!

But a hydra can make near perfect copies of its stem cells ….. Basically forever , making it one of the few organisms which have biological immortality . Now , even I think that the hydra can be called a monster - and maybe this tiny monster will one day show us the mythical fountain of youth .

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