Scientists now think it was tuberculosis that killed off the herds of mastodons in prehistoric times. Researchers who have examined the skeletons of these gigantic beasts have found a type of bone damage that is unique to TB. What about TB in humans today? Public health officials are concerned about drug-resistant strains of TB that have arrived here from other countries. Like bird flu (if it becomes an epidemic in the future), the solution may be travel restrictions.
Jordan Robertson writes in LiveScience.com that the worst forms of TB?the drug resistant forms?are increasing in the US due to foreign strains of the disease arriving here. This is happening at a time when our country finally felt it had drug-resistant TB under control. Drug resistant TB occurs when an infected person stops taking his medicine because he feels better (but isn?t cured yet), which is often the case in third-world countries, where medicine is expensive. This is why there has been an epidemic of drug resistant TB among homeless people in the West.
Ker Than writes in LiveScience.com that the mastodons that were wiped out by TB were an ancient form of elephant that disappeared very suddenly and mysteriously. Some researchers think their demise may be partly due to climate change, and this could have weakened them and made them vulnerable to TB. Will climate change do the same thing to us?
Life is tougher than we tend to think it is, which is why there most scientists think it?s inevitable that we will alien find life other places in the universe (or maybe it's RIGHT HERE). Scientists are studying insect bite marks in the fossils of ancient leaves to figure out how life regained its hold on earth after an asteroid impact killed off the dinosaurs (and almost everything else) around 65 million years ago. In LiveScience.com Andrea Thompson quotes paleontologist Peter Wilf, as saying, "The recovery from a mass extinction was more interesting and chaotic than we thought." Let's hope the human race doesn't have to find this out the hard way!
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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