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Re: uh, dinosaur!

don ohmes writes:

"The parasite Toxoplasma gondii uses a remarkable trick to spread
from rodents to cats: It alters the brains of infected rats and mice so
that they become attracted to?rather than repelled by?the
scent of their predators."


These same parasites also infect humans - in fact a recent study suggested there was a (very) rough correlation between the level of violence in different countries around the world, and the percentage of people in those countries infected with the brain parasite.

The study seemed to assume that the parasite made the host 'bolder' by repressing fear in general. However if the parasite only effects a very specific part of rodent brains and only makes them less wary of the smell of cats' urine (and nothing else), then I doubt that the correlation between infection rates and levels of cultural violence in humans is all that good. Unless most wars are started by cat lovers verses cat haters. :)


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist         http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://heretichides.soffiles.com