EVO: Zombie Fungus Networks Control Ant Like a Puppet

This article leads me to wonder a question about crossing the cooperation divide. How the Zombie Fungus Takes Over Ants’ Bodies to Control Their Minds

The fungus is Ophiocordyceps unilateralis. It invades an ant’s body and travels through its body as individual cells that replicate and eventually network together to act as a single parasite. This parasite controls the ant’s body to put it in a position (hanging 25 centimeters off the ground to a leaf) that allows the fungus to grow, pop out of the ant’s head and send its spores off to invade other ants.

Does this behavior (you might need to read the article to really understand what is happening) constitute some strange “crossing of the cooperation divide” as described by David Sloan Wilson?

Evolution in your backyard

A British enthusiasm for feeding birds may have caused UK great tits to have evolved longer beaks than their European counterparts, according to new research.

The findings, published in Science, identify for the first time the genetic differences between UK and Dutch great tits which researchers were then able to link to longer beaks in UK birds.

Using genetic and historical data, the research team also found that the differences in beak length had occurred within a relatively short time frame. This led them to speculate that there may be a link with the relatively recent practice of putting out food for garden birds.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-10-evolution-gardengreat-tits-beaks-birdfeeders.html#jCp


EVO: Next Reading

I forgot to assign a reading the last time we met to discuss the book. Oops. Sorry. How about we read the next two chapters and try and meet to discuss them on Tuesday. It isn’t that many pages. Read Chapter 13: Murder City and Chapter 14: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Genetic Determinism (pages 82-99).

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