Monday, 20 February 2012

The fungus that tamed humans

Is that title right? A fungus that tamed humans? We farmed so many creatures for our benefit, yet we didn't realize some of them were just taking us for a looooong ride. Here's a part of an article I found in Yahoo News

 The Fungi that Tamed Humans

One clan of fungi has evolved the ability to control humans. Once these fungi were relatively uncommon. They floated in the air and landed where they could, to eat what they might. But then at least some of them figured out the weakness of humans, alcohol. Humans would work in order to get alcohol. In this way, the humans were better for the fungus than were the beetles, termites or ants. The humans carried fungus from place to place. They had ceremonies in which they celebrated their fungus. They poured libation to the fungus. They also fed them, endlessly, no matter the cost. The termites gathered dead leaves. The ants gathered live leaves. But it was only the humans who went out and planted fields just to make food to feed their fungus (While many animals farm, we appear to be the only species to farm plants) whereas the fungi rewarded beetles, termites and ants with valuable food (essentially, part of their body) the humans asked for nothing. All they claimed was waste, an alcohol. The humans asked for even less than the termites tricked by the pretend termite eggs. All the humans ever wanted was what the fungus would never ever need. These humans are, of course, you and me and this fungus is our yeast

Now I know how I got my beer - I was working to feed a fungus!

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