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Re: Mesozoic illnesses

There's diseases everywhere. As a rule, we're more at risk for diseases that evolved among mammals, or atleast that are closely related to current diseaseses among mammals.

Humans can't catch dinosaur colds, not even those belonging to the same virus families, despite being able to readily trade cold viruses with our cats, and we can't catch dinosaur rabies. Half the dinosaur diseases we seem to be susceptible to are fungi, and half the fungi that commonly make them ill give us allergies.

The only higher bacteria we can trade are staph, and staph are everywhere. What is more, our staph is dangerous to them, but evidently their staph is not a danger to us. This is why one should never kiss a dinosaur on the beak.

Are you planning a trip back in time?  I'd like to come along!

Wait - you did know that dinosaurs are still among us, right? There is a cage full of them behind me. One of them has been puffed up and wheezing intermittently for weeks with a disease I can't catch.

On the other hand, you really have to look out for primates in jungles. They carry some serious diseases.

Dora Smith
Austin, TX

----- Original Message ----- From: "Brandon Pilcher" <trex_kid@hotmail.com>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2007 7:40 AM
Subject: Mesozoic illnesses

If people in the future went back to dinosaur times, wouldn't they risk catching Mesozoic diseases? With the Mesozoic being hotter and muggier than today, the bacteria and viruses (virii?) of the time must have been more vigorous than contemporary pathogens, yet I know of no story ever written on time travel that has ever touched on that---it's almost either dinosaur attacks or variants on the trite "grandfather paradox" that bedevil the human explorers.

At least more deadly Mesozoic diseases would mean that dinosaurs had superior immunity systems that medical science might want to obtain for analysis...
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