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Historian and author Timothy Winegard discusses the way mosquitoes have played a major role in battles, genetics and the gin and tonic Emily ToomeyFifty-two billion people-almost half of the cumulative human population-are thought to have perished at the hands of a creature no bigger than a fingernail: the mosquito.

In his new book The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator, historian Timothy Winegard exposes this insect as not merely an itchy pest, but a force of nature that has dictated the outcome of significant events throughout human history. From ancient Athens to World War II, Winegard highlights key moments when mosquito-borne diseases caused militaries to crumble, great leaders to fall ill, and populations to be left vulnerable to invasion.

Winegard spoke with Smithsonian about his new book and if modern technology can defeat this threat to humanity-and whether it should. Orange lot of people acknowledge that insects, despite being pesky or annoying, have an important role in our overall ecosystem. Do Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets-Triphasic Regimen (Tri-Sprintec)- Multum they contribute anything another than just being a parasite.

The males do drink nectar and pollinate plants, but not to the degree that other insects do, like bees. So no-looking at the historical impact of the mosquito, perhaps their role is a Malthusian check against uncontrolled population growth, and within the ecological balance and equilibrium of Mother Nature. What are some of the most common misconceptions people have about mosquitoes.

In countries that are relatively free of mosquito-borne disease, or have been free of mosquito-borne disease for the last half-century, we tend to think that they're just annoying pests.

It's a universal problem that requires a universal solution. How do the timelines of these two adaptations compare to each other. Evidence suggests that mosquitoes evolve quicker than humans. But the human response to what would have Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets-Triphasic Regimen (Tri-Sprintec)- Multum unrelenting malaria in Africa-the sickle cell natural selection, hereditary gene-is unbelievable.

It is a testament to the sheer power malaria had on early populations in Africa that humans developed sickle cell through natural selection so incredibly quickly. Do other animals have genetic adaptations to mosquitoes, or is it mainly humans that have traits like sickle cell or Duffy negativity.

Great apes seem to have adapted to malaria where they carry the parasite, but it doesn't cause symptoms. The same with reptiles and amphibians, they also carry malaria parasites-different from the ones with humans-and they've adapted to show very mild or no symptoms.

All creatures on the planet want to survive, and natural selection is essentially forcing or promoting mbti database estp ability to do that. Can you explain why. Smallpox, measles, mumps-they all come from various animals. In the pre-Columbian America, very few animals were domesticated. The ones that were, like the turkey, designer funeral domesticated themselves by loitering for scraps-they didn't really require helicopter parenting or supervision.

The domestication of animals in the Middle East and Europe allowed for the transference of diseases to humans. Agriculture was also practiced differently in other parts of the world compared to the Americas. It was not a predominantly surplus agricultural economy in the Americas, so there wasn't as much disturbance of local environments. Agriculture led to higher population densities in Europe and in Africa, which allowed disease to spread more quickly and continued the cyclical contagion.

Your book argues that mosquito-borne diseases have determined the outcome of many battles throughout history, from Athens to World War II. Do you think most people realize the influence of disease in warfare, or do you think society still prefers viewing things from a perspective of manpower, weaponry and resources.

General modern histories find pestilence and disease rather dull when compared to national supermen, which are most often military generals. The Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets-Triphasic Regimen (Tri-Sprintec)- Multum was an earth-shattering external factor, especially in wars, because you have armies moving across territory that is foreign to them, as are the microbes in the lands that they moved to.

And obviously, the mosquito is a Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets-Triphasic Regimen (Tri-Sprintec)- Multum agent and driving force of historical changes in trajectory. In some of the first cases of biological warfare, mosquitoes make an appearance, starting with ancient armies fighting in malaria-filled marshes and fast-forwarding to Nazis intentionally unleashing mosquitoes outside of Rome.

Did mosquitoes inspire the idea of biological warfare in general. Up until the late-19th century, we Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets-Triphasic Regimen (Tri-Sprintec)- Multum actually know what caused mosquito-borne diseases.

If we look back in history, we can see perhaps the swamps themselves being Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets-Triphasic Regimen (Tri-Sprintec)- Multum as a biological weapon, but not the mosquitoes that threaten the swamps. But the Nazis reflooded the Pontine marshes in Italy purposely to reintroduce malarial mosquitoes.

The role of mosquitoes in the development of the African slave trade is obviously a difficult and charged subject. Can you explain that connection. It's a sensitive subject as the African slave trade is one of the paramount horrors in human history. Brain dev mosquito borne-disease is ancestral to Africa, more Africans developed genetic resistance to malaria.

And then at the same time, they had acquired immunity to yellow fever. So when the indigenous populations of the Americas were no longer viable option for a slave labor force with the near extermination or 95 percent death rate of indigenous people across the Americas, partly from malaria and yellow fever, Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets-Triphasic Regimen (Tri-Sprintec)- Multum substitute was needed. It also became very obvious that where European indentured servants or European laborers died in the colonial hotbeds of mosquito-borne disease, more Africans survived.

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