News Stories

Ant Zombies

Zombies are now showing up in movies and books, but these didn't originate in Haiti: A 48-million-year-old fossilized leaf gives us the oldest known evidence of parasites taking control of their hosts to turn them into zombies.

Researcher David P Hughes, who studies parasites that can take over the minds of their hosts, says, "This leaf shows clear signs of one well documented form of zombie-parasite, a fungus which infects ants and then manipulates their behavior."

"A fungus lures ants to leave their colonies and head for a leaf which provides the ideal conditions for the host to reproduce (since many ants farm fungus underground, it's not surprising that they would be attracted to this). When it gets there the ant goes into a 'death grip,' biting down very hard on the major vein of a leaf. This means that when the ant dies, its body stays put so the fungus has time to grow and release its spores to infect other ants. The death grip bite leaves a very distinct scar on the leaves."

This scenario would make a great movie--kind of an update of the famous 1954 ant horror movie "Them."

Life isn't a science fiction movie, even though it seems like it sometimes. This week, Anne Strieber presents another in her series of contactee interviews which continue to prove that truth really IS stranger than fiction. If you want to listen, subscribe today!

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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