New York: Is there a creature that can defeat death? Yes, says new research that confirmed that the tiny hydra – a centimetre-long polyp that inhabits fresh water all over the world – does not age and, if kept in ideal conditions, may just live forever, reports IANS.

Hydra could live in ideal conditions without showing any sign of senescence – the increase in mortality and decline in fertility with age after maturity, which was thought to be inevitable for all multicellular species, the findings showed. “I do believe that an individual hydra can live forever under the right circumstances,” said one of the researchers Daniel Martinez, professor at Pomona College in Claremont, US. “I started my original experiment wanting to prove that hydra could not have escaped aging. My own data has proven me wrong – twice,”  Martinez noted.

He, however, said that the chances of a hydra living forever are low because they are exposed to the normal dangers of the wild — predation, contamination, diseases.  Working with James Vaupel of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany, Martinez  duplicated earlier findings regarding hydra immortality, but on a much larger scale.

That scale, Martinez said, is key to the study’s significance, along with the fact that the hydra showed constant fertility over time, defying expectations for most organisms.

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