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Re: uh, dinosaur!

But then, it could explain the human predilection for cats in general.... }:D

Or, whatever the active chemical is, it might be useful as an anti-anxiety 
drug. Assuming it is chemical action.


----- Original Message ----
From: Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au>
To: DML <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2007 9:19:30 PM
Subject: 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." 
> <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070403-cats-rats.html>

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