While these kinds of biological and behavioral modifications are extreme and have an element of science fiction to them, they are rooted in real science and offer tremendous value in making the academics of parasite biology come alive in an educational setting.
How do you explain suicidal crickets and zombie caterpillars? One word: parasites. Science writer Ed Yong shows us how these tiny creatures force insects and animals to do their bidding, and asks: Are parasites manipulating humans, too?
The notion that parasites are ravaging populations -- and clearly, they are -- is hard to reconcile with the already-impressive and fast-accumulating evidence that the aftermath of eradicating parasites is ravaging other populations.
"Mistletoe and Holly" is a holiday masterpiece. But I know the biology of those two plants that Mr. Sinatra croons about... and that makes me wonder: Is there more to this song than standard Christmas cheer?
We have long known that bacteria living on and in our bodies outnumber our cells -- which themselves sum up to a number that exceeds any hope of real understanding -- by 20 to one. We are a rounding error in our own skin.