Some parts of our bodies can repair themselves quite well after injury, but others don’t repair at all. We certainly can’t regrow a whole leg or arm, but some animals CAN regrow – or regenerate – whole body parts. So what can we learn from these regenerative animals?
Many animals can regenerate-that is, regrow or grow new parts of their bodies to replace those that have been damaged. Here are a few of these amazing creatures.
Planarians are flatworms. If cut into pieces, each piece can grow into a new worm.
Lizards who lose all or part of their tails can grow new ones. This is a good escape technique. A lost tail will continue to wiggle, which might distract the predator and give the lizard a chance to escape. Most lizards will have regrown their tail within nine months.
Sea cucumbers have bodies that can grow to be three feet long. If cut into pieces, each one can become a new sea cucumber.
Sharks continually replace lost teeth. A shark may grow 24,000 teeth in a lifetime.
Spiders can regrow missing legs or parts of legs.
Sponges can be divided. In that case, the cells of the sponge will regrow and combine exactly as before.
Starfish that lose arms can grow new ones; sometimes an entire animal can grow from a single lost arm.
Humans can regenerate Skin and Liver
Mouse can regenerate Liver
Zebrafish can regenerate heart tissue without relying on stem cells
Like a starfish, an octopus can regrow lost arms. Unlike a starfish, a severed octopus arm does not regrow another octopus.