- Not Exactly Rocket Science
One jump from gorillas to humans – the origin of malaria
Several million years ago, Plasmodium falciparum – the parasite that causes most cases of human malaria – jumped into humans from other apes. We’ve known as much for decades but for all this time, we’ve pinned the blame on the wrong species. A new study reveals that malaria is not, as previously thought, a disease that came from chimpanzees; instead it’s an unwanted gift from gorillas.
Until now, the idea of chimps as the source of human malaria seemed like a done deal. Just last year, I covered a study which said that a related chimp parasite called Plasmodium reichenowi is the ancestor of P.falciparum. According to Stephen Rich from the University of Massachussetts, P.reichenowi crossed the species