Zoobiquity

On Saturday, November 9, I attended a Chicago Humanities Festival event called Zoobiquity. This event consisted of a discussion between the authors of the book Zoobiquity on how physicians and veterinarians should work together in order to be able to find treatments for diseases. They encourage this because humans and animals have so many similarities based on physical structures and behaviors. This relates to our curriculum with our earlier study of homologous and analogous structures. I was surprised to have found out that animals can ultimately get every disease that humans can get, especially in the case of sexually transmitted diseases. Animals can have multiple partners and it appears that they are always practicing non-safe sex, so STDs are definitely a possibility. This was seen in koala bears that have acquired chlamydia. In addition, the authors suggested that physicians should have some animal knowledge because it would be beneficial for the world. According to them, humans have more similarities with dogs than mice in their biology. By understanding the diseases that dogs can acquire, we could decrease lab testing on mice because it would be more useful to study the dogs. They are not suggesting that we conduct tests on dogs, but just to examine and treat the unfortunate dogs that have been plagued by a disease. Also, animals can give us hints about certain disease breakouts before it happens to humans. On the behavioral side, both humans and animals can get intoxicated as well. At one time, a bunch of waxwings (birds) had died after flying into buildings. The reason for this was because these birds had consumed some berries that caused them to fly while intoxicated, similar to how humans can die from driving will intoxicated. I was also intrigued by how animals have the mindset to self-injure, with some birds going through over-plucking of feathers. Animals can similarly to humans encounter obesity and eating disorders based on the environment they are in. People commonly thought that animals eat controllably until they are satisfied, but they actually have the mind to think about the future and deal with scarcity. Overall, I really liked this discussion as well as the Q&A because at the end, someone asked about “what makes us human” after learning that we have more similarities to animals than we know. It turns out that as humans, we’re one of many species that are all uniquely unique and always evolving (which we relates to our earlier study on evolution).

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