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Pets Made Us Human

Human evolution may have been shaped by our pets. But if humans want to avoid food poisoning, they shouldn't feed their pets in the kitchen.

In LiveScience.com, Jeremy Hsu quotes paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman as saying, "Once you undergo that funny ecological transition that hardly any other animal has made, you have double the advantage if you become extremely alert and extremely observant of what other animals are doing, where they are, how they move, how they communicate with each other. The animal connection runs through the whole [human history] and connects the other big evolutionary leaps, including stone tools, language and domestication. Instead of being isolated discoveries, there's a theme here. It's very deep and very old."

Meanwhile, between 2006 and 2008, outbreaks of salmonella in almost 80 people was traced to contaminated dry pet food. In LiveScience.com, Stephanie Pappas quotes veterinary epidemiologist Casey Barton Behravesh as saying, "This outbreak really raises concerns for us that dry pet foods might be an unrecognized source of illness, especially for children."

Salmonella causes fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. It's spread through contact with animal feces or consumption of food contaminated with feces (which indicates that dry pet food is not as clean as it looks!). Salmonella is mostly spread by meat, and even dry pet foods contains this ingredient.

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Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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