Summary 1

Summary 1 - Oct. 12, 2009 Ant 360 Summary of Ch. 11-14...

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Oct. 12, 2009 Ant 360 Summary of Ch. 11-14 Chapter 11, which is titled “Lethal Gift of Livestock”, focuses on how the major killers of human populations are diseases that have evolved and been contracted from animals. The chapter starts out with a story about a man who has some rare disease his doctor cannot identify. It turns out that the patient is a sheep herder and had been having sex with his flock, which inevitably caused his disease. However, this is not the most common or only way that disease can spread from animals to humans. Diamond discusses several other ways that diseases are contracted. Microbes can wait for one host to be eaten by another host, some microbes are transmitted by mosquitoes or fleas, others can be the transfer from a mother to an unborn fetus, coughing and sneezing can transmit disease microbes, and they can also burrow into the host’s skin. Diamond brings up the question, why do microbes kill their host when it will kill them to? The answer is that even though the microbe will die, the bacteria will be able to spread. To prevent the bacteria from spreading our bodies can kill germs with a fever and mobilize our immune system so the white blood cells will kill the bad germs. However, the microbes then produce new strains of themselves once they are initially blocked and we have a continual war of fighting off new strains of diseases. Epidemics are one kind of disease that spread quickly, are “acute” (meaning that you either die or recover completely), those who survive are usually immune for a long time, and the disease is restricted to humans. Epidemics, Diamond argues, was brought on by the rise of large dense populations, which started with the rise of agriculture. The three contributing factors to this theory is that in a sedentary community, microbes have a shorter distance to travel, people are surrounded by their own feces with germs, rodents with disease, and mosquitoes that transmit the disease, and finally trade routes led to the breeding of microbes. The biggest reason of all, however, relates to the title of this chapter. The agents of
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This note was uploaded on 01/10/2011 for the course ANT 360 taught by Professor Winter during the Winter '09 term at Cal Poly.

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Summary 1 - Oct. 12, 2009 Ant 360 Summary of Ch. 11-14...

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