Behavior-changing parasite moves wolves to the head of the pack

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These scientists assayed samples from 229 individual wolves taken over the years—116 males, 112 females, and one hermaphrodite—to try to correlate the presence of antibodies against the parasite with demographic factors and specific behaviors. AdvertisementWolves with antibodies against the parasite were significantly more likely to disperse (leave their packs and set out on their own) and to become pack leaders. (The relationship between antibodies and infection is complicated, given that the parasite can persist at low levels indefinitely after infections.)

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