Re, Smallpox

Barry M. OConnor bmoc at UMICH.EDU
Fri Aug 2 13:30:56 CDT 1996

At 12:13 PM 8/2/96, Richard Jensen wrote:
>On Fri, 2 Aug 1996, JAMES ALAN BLAKE wrote:

>I hate to bring this into the argument, but I think I could frame a
>similar scenario using good,old Homo sapiens as the villian.  Who
>introduced smallpox to these cultures?  Who has probably destroyed the
>lives of more humans than any other organism?

Again from a parasitological point of view, when smallpox was introduced
into a host population which had no genetic experience, the parasite did
very well, i.e. it won the "arms-race".  From the point of view of the host
species as a whole, though, it has lost.

Barry M. OConnor                phone: (313) 763-4354
Museum of Zoology               FAX: (313) 763-4080
University of Michigan          e-mail: bmoc at
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079  USA

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