We hear a lot about animal diseases that make the jump to humans—swine flu, for instance. But this transfer goes the other way, too.
There are 786 mountain gorillas left in the wild, and three quarters of those animals are used to being around people. Partially, that's an OK thing. The tourism industry has played a key role in keeping these gorillas protected. On the other hand, though, tourism also means that a small, previously isolated population of primates is regularly being brought into contact with diverse primates from all over the world. It's the perfect set-up for us jet-setting humans to pass on diseases that are completely novel to the gorilla's immune system.
Human metapneumovirus is very common in people, and not terribly dangerous. Most kids have been exposed by the time they're 5. The only people who usually develop complications are elderly, very young, or have compromised immune systems. In gorillas, however, this virus can be deadly. During a 2009 outbreak among one group of gorillas, an adult female and an infant died
This issue is interesting to me, because of the dilemma it poses. As the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases notes: "Human proximity to mountain gorillas is essential for their conservation, also crucial is minimizing the risk for human-to-great ape transmission of respiratory pathogens." How to cover both concerns, at the same time, will be a real dilemma.
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A trio of scholars who study the psychology and philosophy of science have written a fantastic paper for Springer’s Sythese looking at the way that climate change conspiracy theorists construct their view of the world, and how these conspiracy theories contain self-contradictory theses (like the idea that climate change can’t be predicted and the idea […]
Princeton University psych prof Susan Fiske published an open letter denouncing the practice of using social media to call out statistical errors in psychology research, describing the people who do this as “terrorists” and arguing that this was toxic because of the structure of social science scholarship, having an outsized effect on careers.
Blue writes, “Peter Watts has be stricken with debilitating pain, loss of range of motion and motor control. Watts’ doctors remain baffled despite a battery of tests, and Watts has reached out to his fans to ask for their theories and ideas as to what might be causing his illness.”
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If you own a dog, you’ve most likely heard of BarkBox – the monthly subscription box for dogs. What started as a simple idea to try out the subscription model on pet owners has since developed a cult following of dog lovers. If you haven’t given it a try yet, this one month free deal is the […]