ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology
 

Notices


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 3rd January 2013, 10:45 AM   #41
Skeptic Ginger
formerly skeptigirl
 
Skeptic Ginger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 44,969
Here's some fun facts: 11 animals more likely to kill you than sharks.

It says 2,900 people are killed by hippos annually in Africa. That's more than your number, MikeG. 2,900 is more consistent with what I thought but I really have no idea.

And malaria isn't the only zoonosis that kills: 13 Animal-to-Human Diseases Kill 2.2 Million People Each Year.

It's hard to find consistent numbers with a quick Google. We need a more definitive source.
__________________
(*Tired of continuing to hear the "Democrat Party" repeatedly I've decided to adopt the name, Pubbie Party, Repubs "Republics" and Republic Party in response.)

Last edited by Skeptic Ginger; 3rd January 2013 at 10:46 AM.
Skeptic Ginger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 10:48 AM   #42
Dinwar
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13,680
Originally Posted by Polaris
Insects are animals. As are sponges and some single-celled organisms. Basically anything that isn't a plant or a lichen. The parasites can be animals as well.
Which ones are those? I'm not familiar with any unicellular animals, and I thought I knew all the weird phyla. That said, I'm not exactly current with how the whole Protista issue is being addressed.

The parasite that causes mallaria is a worm, and therefore an animal. I want to say it's a roundworm of some sort, but won't swear to that (I do know that roundworms and flatworms can be parasitic--flatworms cause elephantitus, and roundworms include heart worms). At the very least insects are part of Arthropoda, the most prolific and successful animal phylum.
__________________
GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Dinwar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 10:54 AM   #43
MikeG
Philosopher
 
MikeG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: UK
Posts: 6,067
I'll dig out some figures later (after I've seen Life of Pi). I went into this in some detail a couple of years ago.

Mike
MikeG is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 10:57 AM   #44
Polaris
Philosopher
 
Polaris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,615
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Which ones are those? I'm not familiar with any unicellular animals, and I thought I knew all the weird phyla. That said, I'm not exactly current with how the whole Protista issue is being addressed.

The parasite that causes mallaria is a worm, and therefore an animal. I want to say it's a roundworm of some sort, but won't swear to that (I do know that roundworms and flatworms can be parasitic--flatworms cause elephantitus, and roundworms include heart worms). At the very least insects are part of Arthropoda, the most prolific and successful animal phylum.
I was referring to amoeba and protozoa. I've heard and seen the term "single-celled animal" from time to time. Is that just a vernacular thing? I'm willing to admit I was wrong on that count.
__________________
"There's vastly more truth to be found in rocks than in holy books. Rocks are far superior, in fact, because you can DEMONSTRATE the truth found in rocks. Plus, they're pretty. Holy books are just heavy." - Dinwar

"Let your ears hear this beautiful song that's hiding underneath the sound," Ed Kowalczyk.
Polaris is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 11:05 AM   #45
Dinwar
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13,680
I honestly don't know, Polaris. That's why I asked you.

The issue is that people realized that kingdom Protista isn't actually a kingdom at all; it's just a grab-bag of leftover stuff that no one could find a place for, and almost certainly includes members of multiple kingdoms (and probably at least one new kingdom). All the other kingdoms have defining traits--animals are heterotrophes, plants are autotrophs with alternating generations, fungus has specific cellular structures not found anywhere else, etc. Protists, however, include so many different groups it's impossible to define the kingdom. So biologists are toying with various ideas on how to fix the issue. I have no doubt that at least some include amoeba and protozoa in the animal kingdom--that's what I'd do if I were them--but I'm not sure if there's any widely-accepted answer to this question.
__________________
GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Dinwar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 11:10 AM   #46
Polaris
Philosopher
 
Polaris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,615
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
I honestly don't know, Polaris. That's why I asked you.

The issue is that people realized that kingdom Protista isn't actually a kingdom at all; it's just a grab-bag of leftover stuff that no one could find a place for, and almost certainly includes members of multiple kingdoms (and probably at least one new kingdom). All the other kingdoms have defining traits--animals are heterotrophes, plants are autotrophs with alternating generations, fungus has specific cellular structures not found anywhere else, etc. Protists, however, include so many different groups it's impossible to define the kingdom. So biologists are toying with various ideas on how to fix the issue. I have no doubt that at least some include amoeba and protozoa in the animal kingdom--that's what I'd do if I were them--but I'm not sure if there's any widely-accepted answer to this question.
Gotcha! I don't really have a dog in that fight, as I'm not a biologist or even a scientist. I did a search for single-celled animals on google and got amoeba and protozoa, but I'm not that well-versed in any controversy WRT microbiology.

Worth a look though, since I'm a firm believe that more knowledge = more gooder.
__________________
"There's vastly more truth to be found in rocks than in holy books. Rocks are far superior, in fact, because you can DEMONSTRATE the truth found in rocks. Plus, they're pretty. Holy books are just heavy." - Dinwar

"Let your ears hear this beautiful song that's hiding underneath the sound," Ed Kowalczyk.
Polaris is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 11:21 AM   #47
Professor Yaffle
Butterbeans and Breadcrumbs
 
Professor Yaffle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Emily's shop
Posts: 17,372
IIRC, protozoa were traditionally considered to be a subkingdom of the Animalia kingdom. But now they are often grouped with other eukaryotic single celled organisms, such as algae and slime molds in their own kingdom of Protista.
Professor Yaffle is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 11:26 AM   #48
GlennB
Cereal pedant
 
GlennB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Fetaland
Posts: 13,599
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
The parasite that causes mallaria is a worm, and therefore an animal. I want to say it's a roundworm of some sort, but won't swear to that (I do know that roundworms and flatworms can be parasitic--flatworms cause elephantitus, and roundworms include heart worms). At the very least insects are part of Arthropoda, the most prolific and successful animal phylum.
It gets interesting

I have read that Nematoda (roundworms, broadly speaking) are the most prolific (in absolute numbers) of all multi-cellular animals. This, I suppose, would be based on the fact that damn near every other multi-cellular animal has Nematode parasites either in it or preying upon it, including ants and the like.

Meanwhile I'm not counting a roundworm infestation as an "animal attack" , though some might. Mozzie bites I definitely count as "attack"

Last edited by GlennB; 3rd January 2013 at 11:27 AM.
GlennB is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 12:48 PM   #49
Modified
Illuminator
 
Modified's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,823
Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I always hate these stats. I spend about 300 hours per year swimming or wading in the ocean in an area known for shark attacks. I'm sure a shark is the animal most likely to kill me. My odds of being killed by a hippo are zero.
Modified is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 01:18 PM   #50
Polaris
Philosopher
 
Polaris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,615
Originally Posted by Modified View Post
I always hate these stats. I spend about 300 hours per year swimming or wading in the ocean in an area known for shark attacks. I'm sure a shark is the animal most likely to kill me. My odds of being killed by a hippo are zero.
Likewise you're not going to get mauled by a Kodiak bear if you're in the penthouse of the Sears Tower.
__________________
"There's vastly more truth to be found in rocks than in holy books. Rocks are far superior, in fact, because you can DEMONSTRATE the truth found in rocks. Plus, they're pretty. Holy books are just heavy." - Dinwar

"Let your ears hear this beautiful song that's hiding underneath the sound," Ed Kowalczyk.
Polaris is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 01:21 PM   #51
El Greco
Summer worshipper
 
El Greco's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,282
For some rather juicy real stories of animal attacks one should read Peter Hathaway Capstick's books

Personally I've been close to some rather daunting wild animals on foot and what scared me the most was a honeybadger!
__________________
"Robbing a bank is no crime compared to owning one" - Bertolt Brecht

El Greco is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 02:10 PM   #52
Polaris
Philosopher
 
Polaris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,615
Originally Posted by El Greco View Post
For some rather juicy real stories of animal attacks one should read Peter Hathaway Capstick's books

Personally I've been close to some rather daunting wild animals on foot and what scared me the most was a honeybadger!
On Netflix instant there's a show currently available called After the Attack. I think it was only out for one season. The premise is the host reintroduces survivors of animal attacks with the species they were attacked by. I've only seen Cougar/Moose but it's worth a look.
__________________
"There's vastly more truth to be found in rocks than in holy books. Rocks are far superior, in fact, because you can DEMONSTRATE the truth found in rocks. Plus, they're pretty. Holy books are just heavy." - Dinwar

"Let your ears hear this beautiful song that's hiding underneath the sound," Ed Kowalczyk.
Polaris is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 02:55 PM   #53
Halfcentaur
Philosopher
 
Halfcentaur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 6,621
I'm actually a microscopic worm living in Halfcentaur's brain stem who has managed to evolve a means of controlling humans via a virus carried in my excretions. I infected him specifically to register on this forum as a member and interact with the other members. It's been a good run the last few years, but I'm getting ancy about your medical science.
Halfcentaur is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 02:58 PM   #54
Polaris
Philosopher
 
Polaris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,615
Originally Posted by Halfcentaur View Post
I'm actually a microscopic worm living in Halfcentaur's brain stem who has managed to evolve a means of controlling humans via a virus carried in my excretions. I infected him specifically to register on this forum as a member and interact with the other members. It's been a good run the last few years, but I'm getting ancy about your medical science.
Dammit! And I just finished a huge helping of creamed centaur **** over biscuits.

Hey, my eye is starting to twitc....

Testing...1...2.....3....

Hey, is that you Carl? How the hell are ya?!
__________________
"There's vastly more truth to be found in rocks than in holy books. Rocks are far superior, in fact, because you can DEMONSTRATE the truth found in rocks. Plus, they're pretty. Holy books are just heavy." - Dinwar

"Let your ears hear this beautiful song that's hiding underneath the sound," Ed Kowalczyk.
Polaris is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 03:18 PM   #55
Miss_Kitt
Zombie Horse of Homeopathy
 
Miss_Kitt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 3,882
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
...If you want a real mind-bender, consider this: Humans evolved in Africa, yet Africa is the only continent that maintains even that much of its Pleistocene fauna.
Sidebar, but I am currently reading a fascinating book called "Plagues and Peoples" that my kid gave me for Christmas, and the short answer is, Because of tsetse flies and trypanosomiasis ("sleeping sickness") which effectively halted the advance of proto-humans and humans until the advent of modern bug repellents and medicine. Tsetse bite like the dickens, and they carry the parasite that causes trypanosomiasis, which has over millenia optimized to the large herd ungulates--it weakens, but does not kill, the hoofed herd animals. That optimization, however, means that it's a very serious disease in humans; in fact, some varieties can kill you stone dead in less than two weeks, without treatment. Before the invention of mosquito netting, bug repellent, and medical treatment--not to mention enclosed living spaces and means of travel--parts of Africa were inimical to humans.

Another factor in play is that we co-evolved with a lot of African game animals; whereas the megafauna of Europe and especially the Americas had never experienced anything like primate hunters. They were what are considered "naive" prey animals, and they didn't have much in the way of preparation to deal with our style of hunting.

Biology can really illuminate history, can't it?? -- Miss_Kitt

PS Author's name is MacNeill, and I recommend it. I wish he had been able to revise it to include information on HIV/AIDS in more detail. The book is like 30 years old but still full of excellent information. Most importantly, it will change how you think about history.
__________________
It's much better to live an honest life than a delusional one -- desertgal

Magic thinking is a lead personal floatation device. It looks really reassuring, but it will drag you down--whatthebutlersaw
Miss_Kitt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 03:32 PM   #56
Dinwar
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13,680
I'll have to look into it. My boss and I discuss the Pleistocene mass extinction on a regular basis (Quaternary vertebrate paleontologists in the Desert Southwest--the topic has come up ), and the question I posed was one of the ones I asked him after a few hours discussing the North American extinction. His response parallelled that book's, in that he credited coevolution with the survival of the Pleistocene megafauna in Africa. I hadn't thought about the prevalence of disease, though. I tend to focus on predation as a limiting factor, with disease only coming into play with huge populations (those that exceed carrying capacity, anyway). But it makes sense that humans would be limited, at least to some extent, by diseases that infect our prey. We had to get up-close and personal with many of them, after all. It also may explain the explosive radiation out of Africa--once a way out was found, that limiting factor was removed (no tsetse flies in Europe or Asia).
__________________
GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Dinwar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 03:36 PM   #57
Miss_Kitt
Zombie Horse of Homeopathy
 
Miss_Kitt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 3,882
Er, um, Plasmodium (cause of malaria) isn't really a worm. I think it's one of those damned iffily-defined protists, but it's not a worm, for sure. I did a goodly bit of research into malaria a few years ago.

Here's a keen and interesting synopsis from the NIH: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/mala...lifecycle.aspx
Malaria has been a bane of humankind for so long that African populations developed the sickle-cell trait to deal with it! Those who carry that gene are more resistant, so there was an evolutionary advantage to sickle-cell, even though children who get the trait from both sides can have sudden death or severe disability from the misshaped blood cells.

Agreed though that worms cause some nasty stuff. So do some other, slightly more rare parasites like schistasoma, which causes enormous amounts of illness and disability in Asia and parts of Africa. Also, IIRC 'river blindness' is another wormish thing, and of course there's the numerous sandfly and related ickies that the US military is discovering are harder to treat than they expected.

As far as animals actually hunting people, though, my educated guess would be that tigers are the worst. They are so strong, so smart, and so stealthy, and they live from the snowy subArctic down to the equator. Heck, they out-predated the lions of India into one little corner of the subcontinent; I figure, if tigers had been in Africa, we would never have made it to Homo Sapiens. There's probably a doctoral thesis in there if I was only younger...

Having fun with this thread, MK
__________________
It's much better to live an honest life than a delusional one -- desertgal

Magic thinking is a lead personal floatation device. It looks really reassuring, but it will drag you down--whatthebutlersaw
Miss_Kitt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 03:38 PM   #58
quarky
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 20,135
Leading the 'pack' in animal attacks, of the mammalian variety, is man's best friend.
I love dogs, yet I've been bitten 5 times. Not as food, I'm sure.
One of them, a German Shepherd, bit my lower leg so hard, his teeth got stuck in the bone.
When I punched his mouth out of my bone, he nailed my hand, in a small fraction of a second. I carry the scars, which are akin to a visual memory.

Cobras, in India, are still a potent killer, yet, I don't think it can be considered an attack.
Clearly not for food, anyway.
I used to do a lot of solo wilderness hiking. (Miss the ell out of it, too) and one time, I encountered a black bear in very dense woods. Neither of us heard the other one coming. We were 3 feet apart when we became aware of the other's presence.
I was barefoot, and quiet. Foolish, probably. I should have been making some noise...but, something in me longed for this sort of encounter.

It was exhilarating for both of us. I recall being more stunned by the beauty of that animal than my own fear. I doubt I'd feel the same today.
quarky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 03:53 PM   #59
MikeG
Philosopher
 
MikeG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: UK
Posts: 6,067
Originally Posted by Miss_Kitt View Post
.........Tsetse bite like the dickens, and they carry the parasite that causes trypanosomiasis, ........
It is slightly more complicated than that. There are plenty of tsetses that don't carry the parasite, and it is easy to predict where they live.

I've been bitten hundreds, maybe thousands of times by tsetses (until I discovered something that works to stop them biting)......and have never worried about ngana (sleeping sickness/ tripanosomiasis), because of the distance to the nearest human settlement. If there are no humans, there is no ngana. In other words, ngana is passed from human to human via a vector, the tsetse. The real reason it keeps humans out of an area is because it affects their domestic animals. Not just affects them..........kills them.

Mike
MikeG is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 04:00 PM   #60
Dinwar
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13,680
Originally Posted by Miss_Kitt
Er, um, Plasmodium (cause of malaria) isn't really a worm.
Huh. Thanks for the correction!
__________________
GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Dinwar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 04:12 PM   #61
El Greco
Summer worshipper
 
El Greco's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,282
Originally Posted by Polaris View Post
On Netflix instant there's a show currently available called After the Attack. I think it was only out for one season. The premise is the host reintroduces survivors of animal attacks with the species they were attacked by. I've only seen Cougar/Moose but it's worth a look.
Thanks, I'll look for it. I've watched many other animal attack documentaries (Human Prey, Hunter Hunted, Rogue Nature, Attack! Maneaters and mankillers , etc). Always fascinating!
__________________
"Robbing a bank is no crime compared to owning one" - Bertolt Brecht

El Greco is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 04:14 PM   #62
quarky
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 20,135
Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Mosquitos don't kill, the parasites they carry do. And I don't think insects are considered animals but that might be debatable. But your other numbers are interesting.
There is nothing debatable about insects being animals.
As per the actual death-causing organism, it gets a bit pedantic.
Cobras don't kill people; their venom does.
Gins don't kill people; bullets do.
Bullets don't kill people, the wounds, infections, and blood loss do.

Etc.
quarky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 04:21 PM   #63
El Greco
Summer worshipper
 
El Greco's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,282
I love tsetse flies. Not much wildlife would be left today in Africa if those marvelous little buggers didn't exist.

ETA: Of course the vast plains that are so characteristic of Africa wouldn't exist without humans, so we've done something good too.
__________________
"Robbing a bank is no crime compared to owning one" - Bertolt Brecht


Last edited by El Greco; 3rd January 2013 at 04:23 PM.
El Greco is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd January 2013, 04:28 PM   #64
CORed
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Central City, Colorado, USA
Posts: 5,519
Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
It gets interesting

I have read that Nematoda (roundworms, broadly speaking) are the most prolific (in absolute numbers) of all multi-cellular animals. This, I suppose, would be based on the fact that damn near every other multi-cellular animal has Nematode parasites either in it or preying upon it, including ants and the like.

Meanwhile I'm not counting a roundworm infestation as an "animal attack" , though some might. Mozzie bites I definitely count as "attack"
It's not just animals. Some nematodes are plant parasites.
CORed is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 01:53 AM   #65
MikeG
Philosopher
 
MikeG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: UK
Posts: 6,067
Originally Posted by El Greco View Post
I love tsetse flies. Not much wildlife would be left today in Africa if those marvelous little buggers didn't exist.
100%

Although, when there a hundred of the little buggers in your car, loving them is an intellectual rather than an emotional experience!!

Mike
MikeG is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 02:00 AM   #66
GlennB
Cereal pedant
 
GlennB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Fetaland
Posts: 13,599
Originally Posted by CORed View Post
It's not just animals. Some nematodes are plant parasites.
Indeed, and when you add in the free-living types then there must be, oooooh, millions of the little boogers
GlennB is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 02:06 AM   #67
GlennB
Cereal pedant
 
GlennB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Fetaland
Posts: 13,599
Originally Posted by Miss_Kitt View Post

As far as animals actually hunting people, though, my educated guess would be that tigers are the worst. They are so strong, so smart, and so stealthy, and they live from the snowy subArctic down to the equator. ....
Man-eatersWP reckons it's crocs, though I must admit that sharks would have been my guess. Though sharks mostly have an unjustified bad press, it seems.
GlennB is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 02:14 AM   #68
El Greco
Summer worshipper
 
El Greco's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,282
Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Although, when there a hundred of the little buggers in your car, loving them is an intellectual rather than an emotional experience!!
Of course, although I don't find their bite particularly painful. Nothing like safari ants...
__________________
"Robbing a bank is no crime compared to owning one" - Bertolt Brecht

El Greco is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 02:19 AM   #69
El Greco
Summer worshipper
 
El Greco's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,282
Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Man-eatersWP reckons it's crocs, though I must admit that sharks would have been my guess. Though sharks mostly have an unjustified bad press, it seems.
There's a nice book on the subject, complete with gruesome photographs.
__________________
"Robbing a bank is no crime compared to owning one" - Bertolt Brecht

El Greco is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 05:25 AM   #70
MikeG
Philosopher
 
MikeG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: UK
Posts: 6,067
There just aren't good statistics kept on death-by-hippo.

I can't find the source for my previous figure of 30-odd per annum, but the 24,000 feral dog victims and 20,000 to 32,000 snake-bite victims are both WHO figures. If you google, you will find all the usual nonsense about hippos being the most dangerous animal in Africa........but it's tosh. The highest figure you can reasonably find for deaths caused by hippos is 2,900, unsubstantiated, so even taking this extreme figure, hippos are 10% as dangerous as snakes in Africa.

Mike
MikeG is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 07:09 AM   #71
Hellbound
Merchant of Doom
 
Hellbound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Somewhere between the central U.S. and Hades
Posts: 10,164
Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
There just aren't good statistics kept on death-by-hippo.

I can't find the source for my previous figure of 30-odd per annum, but the 24,000 feral dog victims and 20,000 to 32,000 snake-bite victims are both WHO figures. If you google, you will find all the usual nonsense about hippos being the most dangerous animal in Africa........but it's tosh. The highest figure you can reasonably find for deaths caused by hippos is 2,900, unsubstantiated, so even taking this extreme figure, hippos are 10% as dangerous as snakes in Africa.

Mike
To be fair, it depends on what you mean by "most dangerous".

It could mean:
1. Causign the most injuries per year
2. Most injuries per capita per year
3. Most injuries per encounter per year
4. Most deaths by any of the above time frames
5. Most cost in injury treatment based on any of the above
6. etc

I think Hippos are called most dangerous because of the ratio of attacks-to-encounters. I thinmk the meaning is they are very aggressive, and more likely than other animals to attack if you get into their area.

But I could be wrong, just tossing out an idea on why that statement is out there. "Most dangeorus" is a nebulous concept, when discussing details, we need more specific definitions of what we're measuring
Hellbound is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 07:10 AM   #72
Polaris
Philosopher
 
Polaris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,615
Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Man-eatersWP reckons it's crocs, though I must admit that sharks would have been my guess. Though sharks mostly have an unjustified bad press, it seems.
Crocodiles seems likely, as do tigers. I work around the latter, and as (relatively) friendly and goofy as they are normally, they are different animals - Jekyll & Hyde style - when food is involved.

Sharks do have bad PR. People couldn't kill 100 million of them yearly if they had the press of bottle nose dolphins. Anyway, it's simple numbers. There are a lot more people around crocodiles and tigers than sharks, and homo sapiens evolved around the reptile and cat in question. We just aren't normal food for sharks.
__________________
"There's vastly more truth to be found in rocks than in holy books. Rocks are far superior, in fact, because you can DEMONSTRATE the truth found in rocks. Plus, they're pretty. Holy books are just heavy." - Dinwar

"Let your ears hear this beautiful song that's hiding underneath the sound," Ed Kowalczyk.
Polaris is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 07:23 AM   #73
aggle-rithm
Ardent Formulist
 
aggle-rithm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 15,336
Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Leading the 'pack' in animal attacks, of the mammalian variety, is man's best friend.
I love dogs, yet I've been bitten 5 times. Not as food, I'm sure.
One of them, a German Shepherd, bit my lower leg so hard, his teeth got stuck in the bone.
When I punched his mouth out of my bone, he nailed my hand, in a small fraction of a second. I carry the scars, which are akin to a visual memory.
We feed our dogs raw chicken sometimes, bones and all. It's frightening how easily they can chew through bone.
__________________
To understand recursion, you must first understand recursion.

Woo's razor: Never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by aliens.
aggle-rithm is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 07:25 AM   #74
aggle-rithm
Ardent Formulist
 
aggle-rithm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 15,336
Originally Posted by Polaris View Post
Likewise you're not going to get mauled by a Kodiak bear if you're in the penthouse of the Sears Tower.
Oh, throwing down the gauntlet, are we? I ACCEPT your challenge!!

__________________
To understand recursion, you must first understand recursion.

Woo's razor: Never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by aliens.
aggle-rithm is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 07:41 AM   #75
macdoc
Philosopher
 
macdoc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Planet earth on slow boil
Posts: 6,476
Quote:
Originally Posted by quarky
Furry predators get somewhat touchy when they have nursing young.
Quote:
As a furry predator who once nursed her own young, I totally get this
.
pics or it didn't happen



There are any number of well documented cases of carnivores even learning to prefer humans over other game.
Good overview here
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/scienc...ing-Lions.html

In the case of sharks my understanding it's mostly mistaking people which are poor in fat for a seal. One bite to test and they go away.

Certainly mountain lions will hunt small humans....kids are at risk with them.

Crocs certainly hunt humans for food and are likely the largest threat overall.

As to the OP - without stats it's a hard to assess. There are a lot more humans about these days so the opportunities increase even in North America with people out in the wild and some restoration of predator levels.
macdoc is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 07:52 AM   #76
Bob001
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,974
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
We are?

Out of curiosity, in the entire history of the world, has there ever been even a single report of a healthy, unrestrained, adult human, being attacked by any animal of any kind, for food?
Most likely grizzly man Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend, for starters:
http://www.yellowstone-bearman.com/Tim_Treadwell.html
http://www.amazon.com/Grizzly-Man-Ti...ref=pd_sim_b_1

How can you imagine that a predator wouldn't see any relatively small, slow, weak creature as a food source? Do you think tigers attack Indian villagers just for fun?

Last edited by Bob001; 4th January 2013 at 07:54 AM.
Bob001 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 08:11 AM   #77
Polaris
Philosopher
 
Polaris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,615
Originally Posted by macdoc View Post
pics or it didn't happen



There are any number of well documented cases of carnivores even learning to prefer humans over other game.
Good overview here
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/scienc...ing-Lions.html

In the case of sharks my understanding it's mostly mistaking people which are poor in fat for a seal. One bite to test and they go away.

Certainly mountain lions will hunt small humans....kids are at risk with them.

Crocs certainly hunt humans for food and are likely the largest threat overall.

As to the OP - without stats it's a hard to assess. There are a lot more humans about these days so the opportunities increase even in North America with people out in the wild and some restoration of predator levels.
Mountain lions are most dangerous to children and pets. They're capable of breaking an elk's neck with their teeth, so adult humans usually fare no better.

Looking at the list of fatal attacks I posted yesterday, I noticed that over the last twelve years the only human deaths by mountain lions in N. America were of adults. Only two of the six fatal attacks in the 1990s (the deadliest recorded decade) were on children.

In the 1980s, the attack on Jake Thomas Gardipee (the second of two that decade) was done by two or three cougars. The article doesn't mention the age of the cats, but cougars are solitary hunters and only work together when they've recently left their mother's side (at around 18 months old). The non-fatal attack on Jim and Nell Hamm in 2007 (the couple featured in After the Attack!) was definitely done by a young, inexperienced female mountain lion.

It's hard to identify a trend with only 20 fatal attacks over more than a century. Here's a more thorough list of attacks, both fatal and non-fatal, with plenty of details. I'll be looking through it later rather than hazard a half-assed guess.

Originally Posted by aggle-rithm View Post
Oh, throwing down the gauntlet, are we? I ACCEPT your challenge!!

Well I have always wanted to go to Chicago.
__________________
"There's vastly more truth to be found in rocks than in holy books. Rocks are far superior, in fact, because you can DEMONSTRATE the truth found in rocks. Plus, they're pretty. Holy books are just heavy." - Dinwar

"Let your ears hear this beautiful song that's hiding underneath the sound," Ed Kowalczyk.
Polaris is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 08:56 AM   #78
Dinwar
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13,680
Originally Posted by macdoc
Certainly mountain lions will hunt small humans....kids are at risk with them.
They'll hunt large humans as well. One of the most chilling things I've seen is a mountain lion footprint over my own footprint. Even more chilling was just how long the thing had been following me. (Note that there's a difference between "hunt" and "attack"--I never even saw the thing.)

Quote:
As to the OP - without stats it's a hard to assess.
Even with stats it'll be hard to assess. There are a number of confounding factors, including the definition of "dangerous" and of "attack". Then there's reporting. If I'm a farmer and I shoot a wild dog or coyote because it's attacking me/my livestock I'm probably not going to report it. (Side note: I've done that with a racoon--the game wardens appreciate your honesty, but stillt reat you like a poacher until you prove otherwise.) Back in the frontier days there was no one TO report this type of thing to. Any stats you get from that time period are going to be so flawed as to be useless, and that's assuming there's no deliberate fraud (not unlikely, given the way the railroads worked back then).
__________________
GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Dinwar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 09:16 AM   #79
macdoc
Philosopher
 
macdoc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Planet earth on slow boil
Posts: 6,476
I consider hunting actually stalking for an attack as opposed to following which could be a curious cat rather than a hunting one.
With smaller prey there have been numerous "on the stalk" reports.

Now this would be scary

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/britis...ack-trail.html

inside her house!!!!

and another -

Quote:
The fatal attack marked the sixth time in more than 110 years of record-keeping that a mountain lion has killed a human in California. There have been 41 fatal attacks nationwide, 10 of those since 1990.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/West/01/0...ion/index.html

With more people in the wilderness that are not armed and some predator protection being successful - not too surprising if there are more encounters
macdoc is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th January 2013, 09:20 AM   #80
Polaris
Philosopher
 
Polaris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,615
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
They'll hunt large humans as well. One of the most chilling things I've seen is a mountain lion footprint over my own footprint. Even more chilling was just how long the thing had been following me. (Note that there's a difference between "hunt" and "attack"--I never even saw the thing.)
It's still rare. The author of the attacks list I posted admits that he is biased in favor of human safety and counts attacks on pets or mere encounters as attacks, even if the cougar is scared off by people who know the correct way to deal with a cougar.'

I'll admit my bias here as well. I think steps should be taken to protect people within reason, but I see the occasional attack as the cost of doing business.
__________________
"There's vastly more truth to be found in rocks than in holy books. Rocks are far superior, in fact, because you can DEMONSTRATE the truth found in rocks. Plus, they're pretty. Holy books are just heavy." - Dinwar

"Let your ears hear this beautiful song that's hiding underneath the sound," Ed Kowalczyk.
Polaris is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:06 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
2014, TribeTech AB. All Rights Reserved.
This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.