Saturday, May 12, 2012

God's most beautiful creations: Deadly fungus turns ants into 'zombies'

This is the first in a multi-part series covering some of God's most "beautiful" creations (not!).

Most Christians believe that God is responsible for the design of living things, pointing to structures having apparent "irreducible complexity," such as the bacterial flagellum, as evidence for God's existence.

Here is an example of something that only a demon would create.  Scientists have discovered a parasitic fungus that essentially takes over the brain and body of tropical carpenter ants -- ultimately causing its host to die at a spot where the fungus has the best chance of reproducing.
Anywhere from three to nine days after infection, scientists watched as the growing fungus actually spread throughout the ant's head and body -- ultimately leading to muscle atrophy and a hijacked central nervous system. But it didn't stop there.
Instead of sticking to the trail like normal ants, the "zombified" ants stumbled around in a stupor, suffered frequent convulsions and fell from the forest canopy to the ground. They were unable to find their way back up to the canopy, and ended up in a cooler, moist area above the soil that just happens to be an ideal environment for the fungus to spread and grow.  At this point, scientists say, the insect is half ant, half fungus.
And believe it or not, the invasion only gets weirder from here. Scientists observed that the fungus forced the ants to chomp down on a leaf -- and always right at high noon (though the exact reason for this isn't known). A locked jaw prevents the ant from detaching itself from the leaf. In fact, not even death releases the zombified ant from its final resting place. 
And now for the grossest part: a few days after the ant's death, scientists found the fungus would burst through its victim's head -- creating a spore-releasing "stroma" -- or body. Those spores then latch on to unsuspecting ants just passing by -- thus renewing the terrifying process all over again.
Link to Article

1 comment:

  1. And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, [frakked up fungi], plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, [frakked up fungi], plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

    [And tropical carpenter ants shouted to the heavens "what the frak man!?!?"]