Zombie Ants!

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Make-up for discussion on Oct. 27

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/05/110511-zombies-ants-fungus-infection-spores-bite-noon-animals-science/

The above article is about ants whose behaviors are changed by mushrooms.
That's right.
These fungi will take over an ant's central nervous system, and control its behaviors to the mushroom's advantage. The fungus infects the ant's body, and forces it to travel to a suitable environment. Once it has arrived, absorbs the ant for nutrients.
What truly fascinates me about this is the mushroom's ability to control innate behaviors. A mushroom isn't self-aware, so how can it know how to manipulate other organisms in such a way? I wonder if it would be possible to change human behavior in a similar manner. Perhaps not to such an extreme, but enough to sift out unwanted behaviors, and introduce better ones. It would save us the trouble and time-consumption of conditioning, and if it were kept under control, it would not be dangerous. Would it pose ethical problems? Any thoughts?

Picture of infected ant:
CAntFungus.jpg

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I like this blog because it connects a current fad (Zombies) to a naturally occurring phenomenon - mushrooms hijacking ants' CNS.

I love this! It is so interesting how natural organisms affect others so dramatically. Its cool to read about geeky science things that isn't very common.

This is a very interesting topic and the article was awesome. Although, I feel like trying to control humans in a similar way might be frowned upon by some people.

bedea002 -- I agree that it would be frowned upon. But why do you think so? Would it be dangerous? Unethical?

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This page contains a single entry by rosen685 published on November 3, 2011 2:19 PM.

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