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.
Image: Some rights reserved by viralbus
It sure feels flat, right? (Life Noggin)
Because ladybug hindwings are covered by an opaque outer shell called an elytra, scientists were not sure how the wings’ folding mechanism worked until Kazuya Saito created a clear replacement shell that allowed them to film the process in super slow-motion.
Apparently scientists tend to think of themselves as more rational, objective, and intelligent than non-scientists. Makes sense. And laypeople tend to think that of scientists too. But the scientists surveyed in a new study from Tilburg University in the Netherlands apparently see themselves as much more rational, objective, and intelligent than non-scientists. Are they overconfident […]
Yes, yes there is. The ultraportable Twisty Glass Mini boasts all of the simplicity of its forebear, while fitting just a little bit better in your pocket.The Mini is perfect for casual smokers, and anyone who doesn’t have the patience or fine motor skill for rolling papers. This piece keeps the convenient design of its older […]
Learning to code is a perfect way to grow your technical sophistication, and open up a host of new career options. But since most “learn to code” initiatives focus heavily on web development, it can be tough to find good resources for general-purpose computer science outside of a 4-year degree program. To get a broad […]
While many newer smartphones boast decent water resistance, most of us are still stuck with the kind of handsets that need to spend the night in a bowl of rice when they get wet. If you want to enjoy your favorite podcasts in the shower but are holding out for your next phone upgrade, this […]