Is the Zika virus the missing link to human evolution?

Regardless of whether the shifting weather pattern is caused or exacerbated by us, there has always been a pattern cycle on the earth. My father shared his knowledge of this by explaining farming to me, “There are wet years and dry years and this year seems to be particularly wet.”

As southern US cities scramble to deal with flooding, the looming concern is the standing water. We are on the horizon of a brain altering virus that is carried by mosquitos. And mosquitos breed in standing water. So more standing water means there’s a better opportunity for mosquitos to reproduce. It only takes one mosquito to affect many, especially when we’re talking about bugs that might not have the morals like humans…and now humans are infecting humans.

A pregnant woman who is infected can pass the virus to her unborn child. The child can develop brain abnormalities including microcephaly, a serious birth defect in which a baby’s brain and skull are smaller than normal.

Studies done on the brains of infected babies specifically show issues with the white matter — “cortical malformations and changes located at the junction of the brain’s white and grey matter. The researchers also identified reduction in brain volume, cortical development abnormalities and ventriculomegaly, a condition in which the brain cavities (spaces filled with fluids) are larger than normal.”

An “Ah-ha” moment came when I was reading a CNN an article about Lucy, the world’s most well-known fossil who provided new insight about our early human ancestors from 3.18 million years ago.

“If you saw her walking from afar, you would think Lucy was human by her silhouette. But up close, she had a small head, a brain comparable in size to a chimpanzee’s, longer arms and hair covering her body.”

“She had a small head.”… a small head. Those words rattled around in my normal sized head for a couple minutes before my fingers started typing “chimpanzee brain size” into google. Guess what, in 2012 a new study showed “unlike chimps, humans undergo a massive explosion in white matter growth or the connections between brain cells in the first 2 years of life.”

What if Lucy’s ancestors were surrounded by Zika carrying mosquitos causing them to continually be infected? Then a dry period came along and less mosquitos were born so fewer and fewer offspring were infected.

What if this is when Lucy was born and she was able to start developing the white matter in her brain because she didn’t have the virus? Then she could produce virus free offspring that benefit from her more developed brain…ultimately leading to smarter and smarter generations over time.

Oh, one more half baked thought: The first civilized cultures… aren’t they from geographically dry regions?

Sources:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160823153233.htm

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/29/health/lucy-early-human-ancestor-cause-of-death/

http://www.livescience.com/25655-chimp-brains-reveal-human-intelligence.html

(disclaimer: I am not in the medical or scientific industry. I am a creative and my job is to see and think about things in a different way than most people do.)

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