Do all living creatures have to face death?
How then are we to explain about the very existence of living creatures that have, since they first emerged 3.8 billion years ago, never come to the end of their life process? Therefore, the claim that all living creatures must experience death is one that still needs to be thoroughly proven
Man of the past had generally had the opinion that all living creatures must, sooner or later, die. Such an opinion had stemmed from the fact that in those days the microscope had not been invented yet, which had led him to think that nothing else, apart from what he could see with his bare eyes, could possibly have been in existence. Thus, the living creatures he meant were confined to only the ones visible to his bare eyes. Basically, those creatures the early man had been referring to were creatures that—like us, animals, and plants—had evolved from the combination of a great variety of Cells and the ones that could experience death. It was not until after the invention of the microscope that man has come to realize the presence of multitudes of other living creatures too small to be visible to his bare eyes. They soon came to realize too that these living creatures reproduce themselves not by conceiving their offspring nor do they do it by laying eggs and then hatching them. Rather they multiply by splitting themselves up. What is unique about these self-splitting creatures is that their life process is continuous.
The diagram above shows how a monocellular creature splits itself from time to time.
As is illustrated in the diagram, we may then infer that a monocellular creature that still survives until today has never had its life process ended since the time it first appeared in the World billions of years ago. All it has undergone is a change in its bodily shape as well as in its body's composition, due to the billions of years of influence by the various external forces exerted on it. The claim that all living creatures must experience death is one that still needs to be thoroughly proven.
In fact, some of the simpler animal organisms are biologically immortal, such as the hydra or the jellyfish Turritopsis nutricula. Yet it will always be different from a unicellular, whose immortality is more obvious.
What an amazing phenomenon indeed!
To further clarify the explanations, above is an illustration of the development of unicellulars, multicellulars (Turritopsis Nutricula and Hydra), and Human-beings.
These three life forms have each its own uniqueness. Turriptosis nutricula and Hydra are said to be biologically immortal. Yet if one is to take a look at both these living creatures, there is just no way by which one can tell that the ones that have managed to stay alive until today are the ones whose life process have continued to last since the time they first came into being and have since then never experienced death yet. Who knows! The ones that are still alive till today could have been born of a zygote. As for Turriptosis and Hydra, biologically immortal though they are said to be, because of their ability to replace/fix their damaged bodily cells, they are yet subject to death in their evolutionary journey, perhaps by some disease or by being preyed upon by some other animals. The possibility of their being able to survive for billions of years till today has not been proven yet.
This is very much different from the unicellulars, which still live until today—as they are known to give birth to their "offsprings" by dividing themselves, it can then be said for certain that the life process they get from such division is a never-ending one. Therefore, the claim that all living creatures must experience death is one that still needs to be thoroughly proven.
As for man, however, while it is true that his gamete cell can survive till today, he is yet mortal, as death must always befall any multicellulars that take the form of man.
Quoted from "The Emergence of the Cell",
a book written by Reinarto Hadiprono.
address: Lemahwungkuk 37, Cirebon, West Java, Indonesia
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