Hippo Cannibals Ruin It For the
December 20, 2004 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Cannibalism May Have Spread Anthrax in Hippos
posted by mcgraw (16 comments total)
"I knew hippos were nasty, but I didn't know they went around eating each other," says anthrax expert Martin Hugh-Jones at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, US.

I'd like to see this man's credentials.
posted by mcgraw at 1:44 PM on December 20, 2004 [1 favorite]

indeed, Africa's deadliest animal.
posted by milovoo at 1:49 PM on December 20, 2004

Since anthrax has been most widely studied in farm animals, I think that one could easily become an expert on anthrax without having specific insights into the behavior of hippopotamuses/hippopotamoi/the hippopotamus.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:50 PM on December 20, 2004 [1 favorite]

you gotta admit, those are pretty good credentials.
posted by milovoo at 1:51 PM on December 20, 2004 [1 favorite]

Expert use of the Hungry Hungry Hippos game, mcgraw. Made me smile.

Damn, check out them credentials!
posted by me3dia at 2:14 PM on December 20, 2004

Not necessarily bloody cannibalism. Many non-carnivores in calcium poor area will eat bones.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 4:39 PM on December 20, 2004

Surely, Sidhedevil, you mean hippopotamodes.

tee hee hee
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:55 PM on December 20, 2004

No, I don't mean hippopotamodes (though "octapodes" is, indeed, the etymologically correct plural of "octopus").

However, I did mean "hippoipotamoi" rather than "hippopotamoi" above. And I was just being silly.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:52 PM on December 20, 2004

I was just being silly. So was I.

Anyway, this got me to thinking [cue swelling piano]:

Blood, blood, glorious blood, there's nothing quite like it for cooling the mud...
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:09 PM on December 20, 2004

Hippo cannibalism? Isn't that against the law?
posted by davy at 7:14 PM on December 20, 2004

joe's spleen, I knew you were being silly, and I was being pretend-huffy in response to your silly.

However, I really did mean "hippoipotamoi". Because I'm just that pedantic.

Also, you owe me a new keyboard. The idea of Cannibal Flanders and Swann is making me swoon.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:34 PM on December 20, 2004

If the great Ju Ju hadn't meant us to eat people, he wouldn't have made them of meat!

Have you been talking to one of your mothers again?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:31 PM on December 20, 2004 [1 favorite]

Beautiful work, Mr Spleen.
posted by emf at 12:09 AM on December 21, 2004

The newscientist.com link died, so I don't know the details, but:

I remember seeing on a few nature shows that hippos, like elephants, seem to show concern over their dead. If they come across a dead hippo, they'll hang around it for hours, nuzzling and licking it, before returning to their routine. I wonder if that's enough to be the "cannibalism" they're talking about. They must ingest small amounts of tissue during the process. That would be reminiscent of that tribe in New Guinea who spread kuru to each other through the ritual cannibalism of dead family members.

One group of grieving hippos that was shown stayed with a dead member of their group for hours, until a large pack of hyenas, attracted by the corpse, finally caused the hippos to head back to the water. It was rather touching.

Now let's all be glad that humans don't mourn like hippos. "Billy, I don't care if you think it's gross! You'll get in there and lick your grandfather just like the rest of the family!" Brrr.
posted by crake at 12:34 PM on December 21, 2004 [1 favorite]

The link works again.

Also here (printer-friendly).
posted by mcgraw at 1:34 PM on December 21, 2004

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