Why Do People Die?


Why can’t we live forever? What causes us to die? We interrupt a conversation between Cyrus and Spero about “Why People Die?”, and Cyrus gives us the low down.


Death… Not Fun, But it’s the Law

We must admit, this is not a very fun question to think about. But whether we like it or not, death is a part of life. One of the rules of life in nature is that everything is either growing or dying. Humans tend to grow from birth until their early twenties and then it switches to a slow dying process. The second law of thermodynamics (BIG WORD ALERT!), in kid terms, means that over time, things move from order to disorder, or clean to messy.

Room Example:

Ever had a messy room? The second law of thermodynamics states that as time goes on, your room gets messier and messier. Things move from order to disorder.

But what is this slow dying process in our bodies? And is it possible to change the way the process works?

Human Cell

A Human Cell. Doesn’t it look happy?

Cells

Humans, as well as most living things, are made of cells. We grow because cells divide and multiply. But cells don’t live forever either. Our body needs to replace its own cells otherwise we wouldn’t be able to stay alive very long.

Our cells are constantly multiplying to regenerate our bodies and keep us alive

Our cells are constantly multiplying to regenerate our bodies and keep us alive

If our cells divide and multiply to keep us  alive, shouldn’t we be able to live forever? The answer is no, but we have to dig a little deeper to learn why.

 

Inside Our Cells

Chromosome

A chromosome, we have 23 pairs of chromosomes inside each cell. And our chromosomes contain our DNA

Inside of our cells are twenty-three pairs of chromosomes. What are those?! “Chromosome” may be a big word but a chromosome is actually so small you can only see it with a microscope.

 

Chromosomes are shaped like two hot dogs tied together. Chromosome are tightly wound strings of DNA in our cell’s nucleus.

Frank and Hank… or is it, Hank and Frank? A chromosome looks like two hot dogs tied together.

DNA

DNA. Ain’t she perrty!

DNA & Telomeres

The DNA inside of your chromosome is the blueprint or map that tells your body how to make you look like you and function like you.

At the end of our DNA strings are caps called telomeres. They protect our DNA strings from unraveling, just like the end caps on shoelaces (Fun fact: end caps on shoelaces are called “aglets“). Telomeres are redundant parts of your DNA string.

Telomeres

Telomeres
The end caps of our chromosomes or DNA strings

 

Spero Scared

Spero doesn’t like this dying business.

But wait! There’s a Problem

Remember earlier, how our cells keep us alive by dividing and replacing dying cells? Well, every time our cells divide… our telomeres get shorter! This is because when a cell divides, it makes a copy of it’s DNA string for the new cell, but it can’t copy the full length of the DNA string so the new cell has a shorter DNA string. As our bodies cells divide and multiply over time, eventually the telomeres shrink to nothing. And then… our body’s cells can no longer create new healthy cells. And this is when our body begins to break down and die.

Sick Human Cell

Sick Human Cell. Anybody have some chicken noodle soup?

Can We Live Longer?

Scientists believe that if we can stop our telomere’s from shrinking or slow it down, we can live longer! And then Cyrus can be at Spero’s 1011th birthday! Oh yeah!

Cyrus and Spero High-Five

Oh yeah! Can humans figure out a way to solve our telomere issue and live longer? Maybe you will make the next big discovery?


Credits

Why Do People Die?

Executive Producers
Jim Demetriades and Nikos Iatropoulos

Directed by
Luke Gschwend and Joseph Rohrs

Hosted by
Cyrus Rohrs

Written and edited by
Luke Gschwend

Production Assistant
Gwynne Rohrs

Title Animation & Animation
Jonathan Reaux

Images

Designed by Freepik:

Sound FX

AudioJungle: Dramatic Reveal by Flowsopher

Music

Licensed through Audiojungle: “Inspiring” by MagicMusicStudio

Resources

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