What happened to the Neanderthals?

It was originally believed the Neanderthals were killed by humans that migrated out of Africa.  However, recent evidence from genetic studies prove humans and Neanderthals were interbreeding.

Researchers at National Geographic discovered, “the Neanderthal linage disappeared, because it was absorbed into the much larger human population.”  They found Neanderthal DNA in humans, especially in those with a strong European heritage.

Basically, the Neanderthals intermingled with humans until they were breed out of existence.

Neanderthal-Vs-Homosapien

80452-004-0300CB22

Source:  Genographic Project:  nationalgeogrpahic.com

 

Opossums are Cool

I think opossums are cool animals and they are often judged to harshly.

Opossums are marsupials, which makes them a unique animal in North America.

They are omnivores and prefer to forge for food, so they make great clean up crews.

They have a powerful immune system.  They are even immune to snake venom.  You have to admit, that’s a seriously strong immune system.

They prefer a solitary lifestyle and are nocturnal, which makes them a bit introverted.  I’m an introvert too, so I can relate.

When a opossum is threatened it goes into a shock like state and actually faints.  This is an involuntary response, which kind of makes me feel sorry for the opossum.  If I fainted every time I got scared, that would be embarrassing.

north-american-opossum-didelphis-virginiana-parental-animal-young-H48EJY.jpg

Periodical Cicada Invasion

Periodical Cicadas spend most of their lives underground.  Depending on their species, they only come out every 13 or 17 years to mate.

I think it’s a fascinating phenomenon.  Millions of these creatures will leave their underground homes at the same time and head for the trees, so they can enjoy the mating season.

Once the mating season is over, they all disappear.  The nymphs (baby cicadas) will burrow underground and stay there for over a decade, until it’s time for the next mating season.

Most people think the cicadas are a nuisance.  They create a lot of noise.  They are so loud, even I can hear them without my hearing aids.  They are also detrimental to the local plant life.

Ok, so they are a bit of a nuisance.  However, they are still fascinating creatures.

FullSizeRender-2.jpg

I found this one at the miniature golf course located at Insanity Skate Park in Madison, Alabama.  It was getting dark when I took the photo and I only had my cellphone, so it’s not a great picture.  However, you can still get a decent look at it.

 

Rabid – A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus

FullSizeRender-3.jpg

This book is unique, because it takes an in-depth look at rabies and how the virus influenced human history and our culture.

There is a historical section that describes treatments used in the middle ages.  The infected person would have the wound cauterized and blood would be drained from their bodies.  Various herbs and spices were also used in an attempt to purify the body.

Louis Pasteur developed a vaccine that could save victims if administered before they showed signs of the disease.  However, some physicians of that time did not believe in germ theory and felt the vaccine was dangerous or would be ineffective.

There is another section that explains how the virus is transmitted and how it kills the victim.  It also talks about the viruses ability to spread quickly within a geographical region and which animals are most likely to be carriers of the virus.

The final section of the book discusses how rabies has influence our culture.  Victims of the rabies virus displayed shocking symptoms, which influenced the folklore and helped develop stories about werewolves, vampires, and zombies.

Rabies also played a role in popular literature and in movies, for example:  Cugo, The Rage, and Old Yellower.

I enjoyed the book, because it was informative and I learned a great deal about the rabies virus.  I was also impressed by how much this virus influenced culture, literature, folklore, and movies.