Mexican ‘water monsters’ are perhaps best known for their ability to never grow up. While developing, they can essentially hit the ‘pause’ button when they reach adolescence, yet they are still capable of reproduction.
Remaining in their larval form seems to grant these superlative salamanders exemplary restorative powers – they can regenerate not just damaged limbs but also bones and even brain tissue. A 2018 study into the genetics that make this possible revealed axolotl DNA comprises 32 billion base pairs – the largest known amphibian genome. By comparison, the sum total of a human’s genetic material is around 3 billion base pairs.