If you seek a tale of resiliency, look no further than the sea star.
For humans, losing an arm means we’re pretty much out of luck. But for certain species of sea stars, re-growing lost or damaged arms is common, and is known as regeneration.
There are many accounts of fishermen who, in an attempt to rid clam and oyster beds of sea stars (which often prey on the mollusks), chopped up starfish and threw them back in the water. Instead of killing off the sea star population, the practice ended up having the opposite effect – beds FULL of pesky sea stars!
As long as a part of its central disc remains intact, it can take about a year for a sea star to regenerate an arm. Sometimes, an entirely new sea star can grow from a detached limb.
Not only do they have the ability to regenerate arms that are lost or damaged to predators, they can even drop one of their arms as a defense mechanism to escape danger.
Because sea stars exhibit such regenerative powers, many researchers study them to better understand and make advances in wound healing and regeneration in humans.