more science, cause I LOVE IT.
so I'm helping out with a herpetological project to assess health of our snake population in the area, there is a suspected fungal outbreak affecting multi-species of snakes. Of course we have to gather baseline info to see what is normal and what is not, and we're comparing our study site with others around the area. Interestingly enough, we are also looking at other reptile and amphibian species, in doing so, I caught 3 eastern fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus) and one 5 lined skink (Eumeces inexpectatus) and found them to be carrying ticks. Normally this would be of no interest, however, after some literature review, it is found that their western cousins (Sceloporus occidentalis) have a protein in their blood that kills Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes, the organism responsible for lymes disease, inside the belly of the ticks. So when the tick feeds on the lizards, it is in a sense purifying itself from the bacteria that cuases lyme's disease. So that when this tick in turn bites another vertebrate it is nothing more than a nuissance bite.
The implications here are numerous. 1. It shows that these lizards function as an ecological filter for the disease, 2. This shows the importance of wildlife conservation (yet one more example on why preservation is important) 3. If the eastern species also kill lyme's disease, then the implication for treatment in humans are huge.
Now of course, and as always, If god created humans in such perfect form, why then are these lizards more "advanced" in combatting a disease that affects humans. This is more evidence of evolution at work. The lyme's disease bacteria has put selective pressures on these lizards to develop a protein that acts as a natural bacteriocide for this disease. We see this over and over in nature, it's a tango between population control through disease, and in turn resistance to disease because it functions as a selective pressure.