Jellyfish. Shapeless gelatinous masses lying on the shore like big spongy plastic bags, they inspire in us the same superstitious fear as the ocean depths themselves. Jellyfish are truly alien: formless and translucent, they have no head, no heart, no brain.
Deep in the oceans, before any animal trod the earth, they were here. Even though numerous naturalists, zoologists, biologists and ecologists have been studying them for two hundred years, these creatures remain a mystery. Magnificent assassins, they can kill in seconds. And they can invade in mass; when they strike, we have practically no defence.
These terrifying animals have also mysterious abilities which scientists are using to improve human health - to unlock the mysteries of cancer, aging and genetic disease. And in astonishing new research, scientists have discovered that these primeval creatures may even hold the promise of eternal life.