Both of my schools. Let’s see which is better at basketball…
And today’s study is a peculiar bit of science….:
Rats usually have an innate fear of cat urine. The fear extends to rodents that have never seen a feline and those generations removed from ever meeting a cat. After they get infected with the brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii, however, rats become attracted to cat pee, increasing the chance they’ll become cat food.
This much researchers knew. But a new study shows the parasite, which also infects more half the world’s human population, seems to target a rat’s fear of cat urine with almost surgical precision, leaving other kinds of fear alone.
. . .
T. gondii is a parasitic germ whose primary hosts are cats. However, it can be found in most warm-blooded animals, including an estimated 50 million people in the United States. One study suggests the parasite has altered human behavior enough to shape entire cultures.
. . .
The germ seems to especially like infesting the brain—”parasites hijacking the mind,” Vyas said. Although the disease it causes in humans is rarely dangerous, it is the reason that pregnant women are sometimes told to avoid cat litter boxes (toxoplasmosis is risky for infants and others with compromised immune systems). Some scientists have suspected it might be linked to mental disorders such as schizophrenia and even neuroticism.