Publication Date: February 20, 2024
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A New York Times Editor's Choice Pick
A Sunday Times (UK) Best Book of the Year • This eye-opening book offers a "clear and captivating" (Dr. Kris Verburgh) scientific deep dive into how plants and animals have already unlocked the secrets to immortality–and the lessons they hold for us all. Recent advances in medicine and technology have expanded our understanding of aging across the animal kingdom, and our own timeless quest for the fountain of youth. Yet, despite modern humans living longer today than ever before, the public’s understanding of what is possible is limited to our species—until now. In this spunky, effervescent debut, the key to immortality is revealed to be a superpower within reach. With mind-bending stories from the natural world and our own, Jellyfish Age Backwards reveals lifespans we cannot imagine and physiological gifts that feel closer to magic than reality: There is a Greenland shark that was 286 years old when the Titanic sank, and is currently 390, making it older than the United States. Scientists predict it will live for another 100 years. Trees and lobsters don’t “age” in the way we know it. They simply get bigger and bigger. There are forms of radiation that have been known to actually increase the lifespans of certain species, from tortoises to naked mole-rats. There's a species of jellyfish, the size of a fingernail, that can age forwards, then, when threatened, age backwards and begin the process all over again. Mixing cutting-edge research and stories from habitats all around the world, molecular biologist Nicklas Brendborg explores extended life cycles in all its varieties. Along the way, we meet a man who fasted for over a year; a woman who edited her own DNA; redwoods that survive thousands of years; and in the soil of Easter Island, the key to eternal youth. Jellyfish Age Backwards is a love letter to the immense power of nature, and what the immortal lives of many of earth's animals and plants can teach us about the secrets to longevity.
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