News Stories

How to Avoid Oscar

AND chupacabras! - How can you make sure that you don't get a visit from Oscar the cat soon? If you want more time, here's what you should know: The same evolutionary genetic advantages that have helped increase human lifespans also make us uniquely susceptible to diseases of aging such as cancer, heart disease and dementia. It all has to do with eating meat.

Slight differences in DNA sequencing between humans and chimpanzees may have enabled us to better respond to infection and inflammation, the leading cause of mortality in wild chimpanzees and in early human populations with limited access to modern medicine. In spite of their genetic similarity to humans, chimpanzees and great apes have maximum lifespans that rarely exceed 50 years. Even in high-mortality modern hunter-forager populations, human life expectancy at birth is still twice that of wild chimpanzees.

Neurologist Caleb Finch says, "Over time, ingestion of red meat, particularly raw meat infected with parasites in the era before cooking, stimulates chronic inflammation that leads to some of the common diseases of aging." Specifically, humans have evolved what Finch calls "a meat-adaptive gene" that has increased the human lifespan by regulating the effects of meat-rich diets. This gene, ApoeE, is unique to humans and regulates inflammation and many aspects of aging in the brain and arteries.

According to Finch, "ApoeE may be a prototype for other genes that enabled the huge changes in human lifespan, as well as brain size, despite our very unape-like meat-rich diets."

One NON-human meat eater is the goat sucking chupacabra, and lately, one of them seems to have been eating chickens in El Paso, Texas. In the El Paso Times, Jay Koester quotes Cesar Garcia, who recently found 20 dead chickens, as saying, "I saw the chickens were dead, but there was no blood around the sheet metal" [in the coop]. All of them were just dead in one big pile. But, really, I don't know what it was because there was no blood. "If it had been a dog [that killed them], there would have been blood everywhere."

Another resident, Juan Miranda, says his three dogs did not bark the night this happened. Koester quotes him as saying, "Nobody heard anything. Nobody saw anything." But he DID see paw tracks near the dead chickens and he followed the footprints and "We followed the footprints all the way past the trailer over there, then over the fence. We walked about four blocks and then the footprints vanished."

There are some strange critters out there and our subscribers are going to chat with a filmmaker about them this Wednesday.

To learn more, click here and here.

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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