A Shark, Fish, & Parasite – The Secret to Human Evolution

"The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) can live to be 500 years old, The African turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) does not age, and a parasite called Henneguya salminicola does not need to breathe."

The world is full of extraordinary wonders. As humans, we live, breathe, and age. But what if I told you that this is now a thing of the past. Scientists all over the globe have discovered that marine life has the secret to our evolution. If scientists can examine these organisms and understand how they have developed these evolutionary advantages, then we could create the next generation of humankind. A generation that could survive on another planet, without the worry of aging or the need to breathe. “However, many mysteries about aging remain. While virtually all species experience aging, organismal lifespan is an amazingly diverse trait in nature. For example, the documented maximal lifespans range from days in the medfly to over 500 years in clams, comprising all intermediaries including ~4 months in fruit flies, ~4 years in mice, ~120 years in humans, ~150 years in giant tortoises, and ~400 years in Greenland sharks” (Hu and Brunet 2018). Nature is as complex as the human brain. We think, wonder, and dream. Yet, nobody knows why or how. Like Marine Life. Is it just a mystery, or is it science? To understand these organisms, we must further submerge into the deep blue. Conor Gearin, with NewsScientest, took a new approach with his article, “World’s oldest vertebrate is a shark that may live for 500 years.” Looking at the oldest known organism, “The female sharks don’t seem to reach breeding age until they are about 150 years old. “They have to wait more than 100 years to get laid – I’m sure they’re not happy about that,” says Nielsen” (Gearin 2016).

If people choose their reproductive choices wisely and wait to have sex, it could result in a longer lifespan. Also, if you limit the pituitary or thyroid glands, then it would delay puberty and cause you to develop later in life, “This might be just the tip of the iceberg” (Gearin 2016). Chi-Kuo Hu and Anne Brunet wrote the article, “The African turquoise killifish: A research organism to study vertebrate aging and diapause,” Under the Department of Genetics, Stanford University. Researching Marine Life, and its correspondence to Human life. However, they took more of an approach to The African turquoise killifish’ anatomy, “For example, vertebrates have a more specialized nervous system which is divided into a distinct central nervous system that consists of a segmented brain and spinal cord, and a peripheral nervous system that contains ganglia and nerves” (Hu and Brunet 2018). These types of fish have cells and bodies that protect them from cancers and diseases. They are less likely to be infected during their life. For this organism, Vertebrae aging is also a very significant factor. Senior Writer of LiveScience, Brandon Specktor, wrote the article titled, “Scientists, discover first known animal that doesn’t breathe.” Of the first parasite to reverse evolution, “A microscopic and genomic analysis of the creature revealed that, unlike all other known animals, H. salminicola has no mitochondrial genome — the small but crucial portion of DNA stored in an animal’s mitochondria that includes genes responsible for respiration” (Specktor 2020).

Over the years this parasite has extinguished its mitochondrial genome which allows for breathing, “According to Huchon, other similar parasites have proteins that can import ATP (basically, molecular energy) directly from their infected hosts. H. salminicola could be doing something similar, but further study of the oddball organism’s genome — what’s left of it, anyway — is required to find out” (Specktor 2020). Changing their chemical makeup: a parasite has to rely on reproduction to survive instead of breathing. To change your chemical makeup, you must become unicellular. The only thing is the average human body has 37.2 trillion cells. However, Scientists have found a reliable way to kill off cells, “I am currently using 7-AAD dye to discriminate dead and living cells in flow cytometry. Up to now, I used heat-treated cells to have a positive control (killed cells)” (Grisanti 2018). If we can change the way we think and slowly push our bodies to these evolutionary advantages, then we can look forward to a future that isn’t bound to planet Earth.