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Re: Let's try this again...



A. Gwin writes;

>Here's an example: What would happen to the lions, hyenas, cheetahs, wild dogs,
>and leopards of Africa if a new, highly contagious form of Ebola, perhaps like
>the airborne strain depicted in "Outbreak," were to tear through the continent,
>killing every zebra, gazelle, and wildebeast south of the Sahara? They would
>lose their primary prey. The animals who didn't contract the virus from eating
>the carcasses would be forced to scavenge for small animals, nothing that could
>support a major predator. Eventually they would turn to cannibalism, leading to
>extinction.

Again, the probability of a disease killing *every* form of big game is
exceptionally high.  Assuming for a moment that this kind of disease did occur,
there is an ecological rule that how susceptible a species is to disease is
directly related to the size of the population.  In other words, as the
population drops, the effect that the disease will have on the population will
also drop.

Also, I know of no disease that can be passed on from prey to predator that
occurs by the predator consuming the disease victim.  The only way this could
occur is if we're talking about some kind of nematode; but again, even nematodes
are species specific, as are most internal parasites (plus, these are rarely
fatal).

Rob

***
"I'd like to see John the Baptist's impersonation of Graham Hill."
        -MPFC