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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
Why Do People Die?
Jim Demetriades and Nikos Iatropoulos
Luke Gschwend and Joseph Rohrs
Written and edited by
Title Animation & Animation
Designed by Freepik:
- Funny Grandparents
- Birthday Card With Cake and balloons in Cartoon Style
- Shoe Lace by Maggie Ayame
AudioJungle: Dramatic Reveal by Flowsopher
Licensed through Audiojungle: “Inspiring” by MagicMusicStudio