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.