A Blog by Carl Zimmer

The Strangest Cancer In the World

In thirty years, Tasmanian devils may be gone from the face of the Earth. If they do vanish, they will be wiped out in a fashion unlike any other endangered species we know of. The marsupials have developed a cancer that acts like a parasite, jumping from host to host.

In today’s New York Times, I take a look at what scientists are now learning about this strange contagious tumor, and the desperate measures they’re going to in order to protect the species from its unique devastation.

[Image: Arthur Chapman, Flickr/Creative Commons]

11 thoughts on “The Strangest Cancer In the World

  1. This spring the team plans to take more devils to Maria (pronounced ma-RYE-uh).

    Huh, so they call the island Maria? Hopefully, they renamed the wind there, so they don’t get the two confused. ; )

  2. Always been fascinated by this phenomenon. Hopefully we can find a way to prevent this ‘tumor’ from spreading between the creatures in the wild! But due to their nature they are more than likely going to spread this “disease” to all of their species… Quite a sad way for any species to be taken out by.

  3. I’m new In this field, interested,in discovering nature, through ur site, this is very strange discovery,interestingly ,scientist are still perturbed by the cure of HIV/Aids, this will be another big head ache, thanks.

  4. scientists must find a way to protecting the uninfected t-devils by isolation, when research of finding a cure progresses

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