Fri nite frite: Parasite messes with your mind, causes you to lose your fear of deadly assailants …
|September 20, 2013||Posted by News under Evolution, News, Science fiction|
Heck, relax, only if you are a rodent, afflicted with toxoplasma gondii
Toxoplasma gondii is known to remove rodents’ innate fear of cats. The new research shows that even months after infection, when parasites are no longer detectable, the effect remains. This raises the possibility that the microbe causes a permanent structural change in the brain.
This is thought to be an evolutionary adaptation to help the parasite complete its life cycle: Toxoplasma can sexually reproduce only in the cat gut, and for it to get there, the pathogen’s rodent host must be eaten.
Smart evolution that. When is the, um, IPO? 😉 Just think what this would do for rodent control:
Note: This post was partially authored by Tom, Dick, and Harry, Ottawa area rescue kitties, who see this disease organism as a real benefit in combatting food shortages for both human and cat. And, like, what else really matters in life anyway?