Jackalope is an animal with a jackalope body and antelope or deer horns and is a cultural icon of the western United States. Images of creatures are sold in all kinds of small items in the area, from postcards to shot glasses.At some point, tourists Buy taxidermy I installed a jackalope for less than $ 35.
But is the jackalope real or mythical?
There is no such hybrid animal, but the legend has an element of truth, said Michael Branch, a professor of literature and environment at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the author of the book.On the Jackalope Road: How Legends Captured the World’s Imagination and Helped Us Cure Cancer“(Pegasus Books, 2022).
“It’s a mythical creature,” he told Live Science. “But it has a real relationship with the natural horned rabbit that was attacked by the papillomavirus.”
Rabbits do not grow horns naturally. But the rabbit papillomavirus can make them do so. The papillomavirus is common to many species, and each type usually infects members of a particular host species, Branch said.A typical example is the human papillomavirus, or HPV..
When infected with rabbit papillomavirus rabbit, It can sometimes cause the growth of benign tumors from its face or head, which resembles antlers or horns. Occasionally, tumors made of keratin, the same protein that forms nails and hair, grow in other parts of the body, which is most common in the head, Branch said. In some rabbits, the tumor can become malignant.
However, these growths do not always look like antler. They are often black and asymmetrical and not as magnificent as the horns of a jackalope. “To tell the truth, it’s pretty grotesque,” Brunch said. “Depending on the severity of the rabbit’s illness, it can look pretty scary.”
According to a 2015 study in the journal, in 1933, an American virologist named Richard Shope had horn-like characteristics in rabbits infected with the rabbit papillomavirus (soon afterwards called the Shope papilloma virus). I found it to grow. PLOS One.. Until then, most scientists did not believe that the virus could cause cancer. There was some evidence that the virus could cause cancer in birds. But researchers were skeptical and most certainly didn’t think it could happen in mammals, Branch said. The horned rabbits proved they were wrong.
“We have paved the way for a lot of research to investigate what other cancers can be caused by the virus and ultimately work on the development of vaccines against them,” he said. Specifically, researchers are now able to start making HPV vaccines. This will result in Cervical cancer And some other cancers.
Not all rabbits infected with the Shope papilloma virus grow horns. Not all people infected with HPV develop cancer. But in those rabbits, the disease is often fatal. Weapons can disrupt an animal’s ability to eat and can starve to death, Branch said.
The horned rabbit may have influenced the jackalope myth, but that’s not certain, Branch said. Jackalope began with two teenage brothers in Douglas, Wyoming. “As far as we know, these young boys invented this themselves,” Brunch said. They were hunters, amateur taxi drivers, and sold the first jackalope installed in the 1930s to hotel owners.
Brunch said this timing was a strange coincidence. “When these two boys were making this joke, this hoax mountain in Jackalope, Wyoming, was at Rockefeller University at about the same time. [for Medical Research] He is working on a horned rabbit in his lab in Princeton, NJ. “
Originally published on Live Science.
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