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View Full Version : Malaria evolved 100 million years ago



Angela
06-04-16, 18:39
We forget what a scourge this was for so much of human history. Now, these scientists claim predecessor forms have been around since the age of the dinosaurs.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160328133536.htm

"Malaria, a scourge on human society that still kills more than 400,000 people a year, is often thought to be of more modern origin -- ranging from 15,000 to 8 million years old, caused primarily by one genus of protozoa, Plasmodium, and spread by anopheline mosquitoes.But the ancestral forms of this disease used different insect vectors and different malarial strains, and may literally have helped shape animal survival and evolution on Earth, according to George Poinar, Jr., a researcher in the College of Science at Oregon State University.
Poinar suggested in the journal American Entomologist that the origins of this deadly disease, which today can infect animals ranging from humans and other mammals to birds and reptiles, may have begun in an insect such as the biting midge more than 100 million years ago. And in previous work, Poinar and his wife, Roberta, implicated malaria and the evolution of blood-sucking insects as disease vectors that could have played a significant role in the extinction of the dinosaurs."

"The first human recording of malaria was in China in 2,700 B.C., and some researchers say it may have helped lead to the fall of the Roman Empire. In 2015 there were 214 million cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Immunity does not occur naturally and the search for a vaccine has not yet been achieved."

My father was infected in North Africa, and twenty-five years later he was still suffering from periodic attacks. It's terrible, and modern strains don't seem to be as bad as some that were prevalent in the ancient world.

King Tut, the Egyptian Pharoah, apparently suffered from a particularly virulent strain.

LeBrok
07-04-16, 16:32
Too much exaggeration in their research. There cannot be such virulent parasite to kill all. Firstly, there are always few mutants of almost any species who will survive the attack. Secondly, it is not in best interest for a parasite to kill all the hosts or kill them quickly. For these reasons, there are no known cases of very lethal viruses, bacteria and parasites to indiscriminately kill every member of a specie. In case of people, the worse was Black Death killing close to 50% in worse cases. We should also notice that Black Death, as a viral or bacterial strain, didn't survive to our times. It was too virulent and too lethal for it's own good.

Angela
07-04-16, 17:13
Too much exaggeration in their research. There cannot be such virulent parasite to kill all. Firstly, there are always few mutants of almost any species who will survive the attack. Secondly, it is not in best interest for a parasite to kill all the hosts or kill them quickly. For these reasons, there are no known cases of very lethal viruses, bacteria and parasites to indiscriminately kill every member of a specie. In case of people, the worse was Black Death killing close to 50% in worse cases. We should also notice that Black Death, as a viral or bacterial strain, didn't survive to our times. It was too virulent and too lethal for it's own good.

The bubonic plague did survive; people still die of it. It's just that public health measures mean there are fewer vectors especially in developed areas, and antibiotics can cure around 85% of infected people.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/04/avoiding-black-plague-today/360475/

I think you're right about some of their claims, however.