Cat lovers beware! Your cute little feline that seems to smile as it eyeballs you each day may have lunch in mind. Scientists have learned that some big cats apparently consumed people in the past, and this discovery provides evidence for RTB’s human origins model. Molecular biologists studied a process called host-switching, in which a parasite jumps from one host to another, such as in the transmission of the avian flu virus from birds to humans. Lions, tigers, and cheetahs (oh, my!) carry a strain of the Helicobacter pylori virus and served as the focus of study for this biological phenomenon. Researchers tracked the H. pylori virus in large felines and determined that the virus had jumped from humans to the large cats roughly within the last 200,000 years (a crude date that could very well be less). How did that happen? By snacking, of course. H. pylori resides in the human digestive tract. Therefore, when the felines devoured the poor humans, the parasite moved to a new home in the cats’ tract (catgut).
What does this have to do with human origins? Plenty, it turns out. (Hear Fuz Rana explain the significance of this discovery in detail on Creation Update.) Such a breakthrough yields an independent measuring technique for affirming the “Out-of-Africa” model for human origins. RTB’s biblical creation model for human origins incorporates this idea, which Fuz Rana and Hugh Ross describe in Who Was Adam? Briefly stated, RTB scholars postulate that humans originated less than 100,000 years ago somewhere in or near northeastern Africa, a place consistent with where theologians believe the Garden of Eden was located. The first humans then migrated “out of Africa” to eventually populate the globe. Scientists have authenticated this hypothesis many times over by tracking the DNA of various human parasites, including H. pylori.
Due to parasites’ intimate association with humans, researchers can trace human migration patterns by following the historical genetic spread of the freeloaders. Wherever humans walked, the virus hitched a ride. At some point along the way, one small step for a man was met by one giant leap from catkind and the feline got more than a meal out of the deal. Sometimes science works in strange ways. Who would have thought that by tracing the DNA of parasites in large cats evidence could be found to help answer one of the biggest questions in life? My wife and kids like cats, so we have a small one at home. Just in case he gets any ideas, though, we also have a big dog.