If there is one thing that humans wish they could stop, it is aging – while death is inevitable and we all have to taste it at one time or another, aging is not a must – at least for some animal species. It was discovered that an animal doesn’t age or does so but at a very slow rate. Can you guess who it is? Well, it is turtles and tortoises – they are a special species of animals that just do not age, especially if they are kept in captivation where they have no stress of finding food or avoiding predators.
Aging, Death, and Turtles
SAS discussed above, death is inevitable, and so even turtles cannot avoid it, but they have a superpower, and that is dying without aging. Imagine being your young and healthy self for all the years you have to live. Aging is senescence – a process that causes the weakening of an organism with time. We see humans experience this phenomenon as they age – our immune system becomes weak, bones become brittle, and skin becomes wrinkly. So inevitably, we are coming closer to death every year but more so physically. And this is how we have statistically established the risk of death of humans of a certain age.
However, this physical evidence and accumulation of risk are little to none for turtles and tortoises. Some researchers even believe it is non-existent altogether. In simpler words, their age doesn’t increase their risk of death. There is no doubt that a turtle will also pass away eventually, but their chance of dying is the same if they are five years old, 25 years old, or 125 years old because even though a title may have lived many years, their body doesn’t age like ours does.
What Does it Mean for Us?
We as modern humans, have found a solution to almost all our problems in order to live in an ideal world, but if there is something we are yet to defeat, it is aging. We still haven’t learned how to lower the aging rate for human beings; however, there is a new discovery about turtles and tortoises that may be helpful.
Researchers are asking the big question: How do turtles and tortoises accumulate this magical anti-aging power? There are various theories. For example, some believe their shell’s keep them protected. Others say their cold-blooded nature slows down the aging process. However, there isn’t enough research to find a definitive answer for this. According to ecologist David Miller, the protective features of animals (in this case the shell for the turtles and tortoise) allow them to live long enough for evolution. He also said there are potential evolutionary parallels with humans. Most humans live in the comfort of their home with access to food although still age quicker than an average turtle but a little slower than other species.
Nonetheless, once we have the answer to this question, we are sure this might be beneficial to modern humans. This may help us unlock anti-senescence secrets and help us become an anti-aging long-living species. However, any thoughts like this at this point in time are purely hopes and dreams because there is still a lot of work and research required. There is still not enough data on the extremely long-lived turtles and tortoises as to whether or not their ageing rate accelerate at some point to compare it with the ageing rate of human beings.