Hydra could live in ideal conditions without showing any sign of senescence - the increase in mortality and decline in fertility with age after maturity, which was thought to be inevitable for all multi-cellular species, the findings showed.

"I do believe that an individual hydra can live forever under the right circumstances," said one of the researchers Daniel Martinez, professor at Pomona College in Claremont, US. He, however, said that the chances of a hydra living forever are low because they are exposed to the normal dangers of the wild - predation, contamination, diseases.

But why is this tiny organism able to carry on living while humans have to continue their search for the mythical fountain of youth? Explaining why hydras can carry on living without ageing while humans have to continue their search for the mythical fountain of youth, Martinez said that these tiny organisms are made of stem cells.

The findings appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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