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Good Twitter thread details the long lives and truly terrible deaths of lobsters

Photo: Neilson Barnard (Getty Images)

There are a handful of things that the average person knows about lobsters. They’re an expensive thing to order at a restaurant. According to cartoons, they’ll pinch the hell out of you. Jordan Peterson seems weirdly fixated on them. But, did you know that, technically speaking, lobsters can live forever? For a brief biology lesson on these immortal crustaceans of the deep, we turn to Twitter user @Junius_64, who took to the social media platform yesterday morning to drop some science on everybody.


After playfully proposing her “deal with the devil” theory sans explanation, @Junius_64 eventually relented to public pressure and went into more detail.


Because of their abundance of telomerase, she explains, lobster cells don’t degrade when they replicate like the cells in humans and other animals. Whereas our bodies are genetically predisposed to fall apart and die at some point, lobsters can technically continue growing and living forever. But these ever-expanding ageless ones have to deal with a tricky biological hindrance that we don’t: Molting.


In the end, death comes for us all, even the lobster. Which is why, back in 2013, the Smithsonian threw a little cold water on the whole “lobsters are immortal” theory, saying that, because the molting process becomes too difficult towards the end, lobsters do die a “natural death,” just not the way we think of it. Still, it’s more fun to imagine the deep sea floor being riddled with gigantic, ancient lobsters, determined to stay one step ahead of the devil that cursed their species with long life.


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About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.