A Strange Thing Happens to Wolves Infected by Infamous Mind-Altering Parasite : ScienceAlert

A study of 26 years' worth of wolf behavioral data, and an analysis of the blood of 229 wolves, has shown that infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii makes wolves 46 times more likely to become a pack leader.



What if this is 's problem? Wouldn't it be nice if sending 's cats could stop the war?

It seems highly unlikely...
If you have a cat, you've probably heard of this parasite before. The microscopic organism can only sexually reproduce in the bodies of felines, but it can infect and thrive in pretty much all warm-blooded animals.

This includes humans, where it can cause a typically symptomless (but still potentially fatal) parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis.

Once it's in another host, individual T. gondii parasites needs to find a way to get their offspring back inside a cat if it doesn't want to become an evolutionary dead-end. And it has a kind of creepy way of maximizing its chances.
Infected wolves were also way more likely to become pack leaders. T. gondii may increase testosterone levels, which could in turn lead to heightened aggression and dominance, which are traits that would help a wolf assert itself as a pack leader.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Qoto Mastodon

QOTO: Question Others to Teach Ourselves
An inclusive, Academic Freedom, instance
All cultures welcome.
Hate speech and harassment strictly forbidden.