Moon Jellyfish Found to Have Ability to Age Backwards

April 25, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. remarkable / rɪˈmɑr kə bəl / (adj.) – worthy of attention
Example: Ants have remarkable strength despite their size.

2. maturity / məˈtʃʊər ɪ ti / (n.) – the state of having a body and mind that has reached full development
Example: It takes several weeks before the young bird reaches full maturity.

3. specimen / ˈspɛs ə mən / (n.) – a sample of something, especially those used in the biological or medical sense (e.g. animals or their body parts, plants)
Example: The biologist took several leaves as specimens for a complete study of the new plant.

4. degrading / dɪˈgreɪ dɪŋ / (adj.) – breaking down into smaller pieces, or is rotting
Example: The awful smell came from the degrading meat left unrefrigerated.

5. juvenile / ˈdʒu və ˌnaɪl / (adj.) – not fully mature yet
ExampleJuvenile jellyfish look different from mature ones.


Read the text below.
Moon jellyfish, also known as common jellyfish, have been discovered to have the remarkable ability to age backwards.

Marine biology graduate student Jinru He [JIN-roo huh] of the Xiamen University of China discovered this astonishing phenomenon when he took a baby moon jellyfish home in 2011 and raised it to maturity.

The moon jellyfish died after 18 months in He’s keep. However, He did not throw the specimen because he treasures his samples, and moon jellyfish are rare in Chinese coasts. He transferred the dead specimen to a different water tank and observed it.

Three months later, something that He did not expect happened—a polyp, which is a younger form of jellyfish, emerged from the degrading body of the specimen. He compared the emerging polyp to a caterpillar that grew out of a scrap of a butterfly wing.

He’s observation has never been seen before; it was the first time that somebody has seen a polyp emerge from an adult jellyfish’s body. What was even more astonishing was that the polyp seemingly aged backwards when it transformed into an even younger form. Later, the moon jellyfish polyp grew into several adult jellyfish, like He’s first specimen.

Typically, a young jellyfish or larva grows into a polyp when it settles to the ocean floor and attaches itself to the surface so that it resembles a plant. Jellyfish stay in this form for some time. When a polyp is mature enough, it releases multiple juvenile swimming jellyfish.

Aside from the moon jellyfish, other species of jellyfish are also known for astonishing abilities, such as the ability to regenerate lost limbs or rearrange their legs.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you like to have the ability to age backwards? Why or why not?
·         What do you think would happen if humans could age backwards? Discuss.

Discussion B

·         How do you think studies about animals that regenerate can help people? Give examples.
·         If you could have an extraordinary ability, what would it be?

April 25, 2016