Immortality has long fascinated us, humans. Numerous people have searched for the secret of living forever for centuries. But it seems like we’ve been beaten to it by our animal friends, to an extent. Today we will be looking at 10 animals that can live after death. Make sure you stay tuned for number one as this creature just might be immortal.
Number 10. Cockroaches It shouldn’t come as a surprise that these tiny little bugs would make it to this list. Cockroaches are infamous for their tenacity and are often cited as the most likely survivors of a nuclear war. Some even claim that they can live without their heads. Well surprise surprise, they can live without their heads. In fact, they can go on living for weeks. To understand how these bugs can survive decapitation, first, we must understand how fragile humans couldn’t.
First of all, human’s bleed, and when a man’s head comes off, he bleeds a lot. Cockroaches don’t have that problem though. They have an open circulatory system, which translates to little to no blood pressure. So, if their head’s lopped off, the wound just closes naturally due to clotting. And secondly, and probably obviously, human heads hold quite a bit important part of our body; our brain, and without it, humans will not function. Eating, drinking, and breathing are all impossible without the head. Cockroaches, on the other hand, don’t need their heads to breath, as they do this process through little holes located on their bodies, called spiracles. Although a headless cockroach will die of starvation eventually, it will take weeks for them to do so.
Number 9. Bees This might sound like a cop-out to you. No, bees die and they stay dead. However, there is a reason why they appear on this list because even though a bee might be dead, it can still sting you. Not in the way you think of course. Dead bees obviously go fly around and actively sting you, it’s that their stinging parts, and more importantly, their venom delivery system, will still work even if the bee is long dead. When a bee stings, the sting detaches from its body, leaving it embedded into the skin of its victim.
Attached to the sting is a tiny organ that both contain the bee venom and a tiny muscle that pumps the venom out. Due to the simple physiology of bees, these actions are not controlled by the bee’s simple brain, but rather by involuntary impulses. So, if you think that you’re safe picking up a dead bee, think again.
Number 8. Chickens There is truth to the expression “running around like a headless chicken” after all. Yes, ask any farmer and they will tell you; chickens can still run around with their heads cut off, and there is a very simple reason for this, and it’s not because chickens are zombies. No, the reason is, believe it or not, human error. A butcher’s error to be more specific. You see, a chicken’s central nervous system is very different from us humans.
Some basic bodily functions are controlled not by the brain itself, but by certain parts of the brain stem. So what does this all mean? Well, if a butcher chops a chicken’s head too high, most of the time it’s just the forebrain of the chicken that comes off with its head, leaving the brain stem and the cerebellum quite intact. In fact, if the butcher also misses the jugular, not only will the chicken continue to move, it sometimes can still breath. Of course, it will eventually starve to death but there is one special case that a chicken that survived 18 whole months without its head.
Number 7. Octopus I’m pretty sure that you’ve seen videos online where an octopus, after being chopped up, continues to move. In fact, in certain Asian countries, eating fresh octopus is a deadly delicacy. It’s not really the octopus that survives after being chopped up, but rather their eight wily arms that continue to move about. And it’s these eight arms that usually gets stuck in someones through, resulting in a very bad day.
The reason why octopus’ arms maintain mobility even after being chopped off is quite fascinating. It’s because their central nervous system is quite unique; most of an octopus’s nerve cells, 2/3 of them in fact, can be found, not in the brain where you would expect them to be, but rather in its tentacles. And these arms can continue reacting to stimuli even after they are no longer connected to the main brain; in fact, they remain responsive even after the octopus has been long dead and the arms severed. Researchers at St. George’s University in London conductive extensive experiments on this phenomenon.