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I've been reading a lot about longevity and I came up with this Wikipedia article where it states that it might be possible for lobsters to live indefinitely.

Recent research suggests that lobsters may not slow down, weaken, or lose fertility with age. In fact, older lobsters are more fertile than younger lobsters. This longevity may be due to telomerase, an enzyme that repairs DNA sequences of the form "TTAGGG".[9] This sequence is often referred to as the telomeres of the DNA.[10][11] It has been argued that lobsters may exhibit negligible senescence and some scientists have claimed that they could effectively live indefinitely, barring injury, disease, capture, etc.[12] Their longevity allows them to reach impressive sizes. According to the Guinness World Records, the largest lobster was caught in Nova Scotia, Canada, and weighed 20.15 kilograms (44.4 lb).[13][14]

I seriously find this hard to believe, so under the right circumstances, can lobsters maintain their Negligible Senescence forever?

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Well, if they never stop growing, which you also hear, at some point they would inevitably starve to death, or there'd be at least a couple 1,000,000-year-old lobsters wandering off the coast of Maine, which I think someone would have noticed. (Only to be dismissed as a drunk by the townspeople who would only stop laughing when the city-block-sized lobster came ashore during the Rockport Lobster Festival and ... Does anyone have the phone # of the producer of "Megashark vs Crocosaurus"?) – Larry OBrien Mar 19 '12 at 20:14
You are citing the research that says it can. I am not sure what you expect to have as a better answer. – Chad Mar 19 '12 at 20:35
I'm not citing the research itself, I'm citing an article that says there is a research. What I'm expecting is more detail, perhaps someone else find another research or something, if everyone followed what you are saying the site wouldn't exist. – isJustMe Mar 19 '12 at 20:48
Related: Is it impossible to tell a lobster's age? (BTW, what they talk about in the article is “Negligible Senescence”.) – Hendrik Vogt Mar 19 '12 at 21:37
I just bought one, I will answer your question in a couple of millenniums (be right back) – ajax333221 Mar 22 '12 at 1:36
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Emerging Area of Aging Research: Long-Lived Animals with “Negligible Senescence”

Field observations have suggested for quite some time that certain fish, turtles, and invertebrates have extremely long maximum life span potential. Age validation techniques have since confirmed these observations, but scientific analysis to understand the genetic and biochemical basis of this longevity has occurred only recently. The Centenarian Species and Rockfish Project now encompasses 13 pilot research projects, including such diverse investigations as histology, a cDNA library, and mitochondrial mutation analysis. In this document, the term “negligible senescence” is defined, and its background is given; age validation techniques are listed, and the various projects to date, including research results, are summarized.

Longevity of lobsters is linked to ubiquitous telomerase expression.

Lobsters (Homarus americanus) grow throughout their life and the occurrence of senescence is slow.[...]We conclude that telomerase activation is a conserved mechanism for maintaining long-term cell proliferation capacity and preventing senescence, not only in cellular models or embryonic life stages but also in adult multicellular organisms.


We don't know, and there are probably better examples of biological immortality than lobsters. It is still a matter under extensive research.

Additional resources:

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