Re: primates and sex

Gerold Firl (
11 May 1995 14:03:06 -0700

In article <3ob2po$> ([Stephanie Fishkin) writes:

>Who is doing work in the area of primate sexuality? I'm
>not so concerned with who mates with whom, but more along
>the lines of are some primates more susceptible to STDs than
>others (and why)?

*Susceptible* is probably the wrong term; disease organisms and their hosts
coevolve to produce a miniature ecology.

Using this perspective, it is clear that STDs would tend to exist among
promiscuous species such as humans and bonobos; among strictly monogamous
species such as the gibbons, or solitary species such as orangs, STDs have
no transmission mechanism.

The one case where the idea of susceptibility is applicible is where a
disease crosses from one species to another. Generally, the closer the
species, the more likely the transmission, but protozoans are remarkably
adaptible. This process can lead to spectacular results, since the diseases
are usually more virulent. The mini-ecology of disease and host tends to
result in a chronic infection, a relatively benign relationship. but when
that organism moves to a host from another species, it either cannot
survive at all, or kills the host very quickly. Sleeping sickness is a good
example. It is endemic among the african antelopes, causing little or no
damage, but is deadly to humans and domestic cattle.

It has been suggested that AIDS may have been a cross-over disease; has
that motivated your research?

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf