Stupid frogs, hyperactive fish, fearless seagulls and mice that fall over– these all sound like a weird animal circus; unfortunately, this isn’t a freak show, but reality. Animals across the globe are increasingly behaving in a bizarre manner, and the major reason is environmental pollution. The toxics to blame are called endocrine disruptors that range from additives like bisphenol A to heavy metals like polychlorinated biphenyls PCBs.
Who Would Have Known About This Effect
Biologists, for years, have known that such toxics can change behaviors in animals. In recent times it has become clearer that pollution can cause gender-bending effects by changing animal’s behavior, specifically their sexual behaviors. And two major studies have also revealed that environmental pollutants are causing unusually strange animal behaviors than anyone would have suspected. This change in animal behavior poses some consequent effects to our daily life and health as well. Some of these animal behaviors are almost human-like, lending credence that some of these animals were human ancestors.
Two studies have collected proofs revealing these altered behavioral effects on gulls, egrets, quails, snails, macaques, rats, mosquito fish, minnows, frogs and falcons. Behaviors altered include parenting and mating, learning, nest building, predator avoidance, activity levels, and even balance. One or all of these affect humans daily life such as when birds aren’t able to build their nest they are likely to share human places.
In another study, male starling exposed to dicrotophos insecticide reduced their displaying, singing, foraging and flying by 50 percent. Also, newts exposed to lower levels of endosulfan found it difficult to sniff out attractive potential mates. Many other studies have also proved that male western gulls hatched from eggs exposed to DDT try to mate with each other. Lead has been said to affect the balance of gulls, and goldfish may become hyperactive when exposed to atrazine. TCDD makes the playing behavior in macaques rougher.
Although there is a wealth of evidence, they have gone mostly unnoticed by mostly if not all toxicologists, so far. Maybe scientists are waiting to see the consequent effects of pollution on daily human life and then, they could try taking the necessary steps. But it could be too late then.
Not only are scientists failing to admit the scale of the issue caused by these endocrine disruptors, but they may be missing their consequent adverse effects on one’s health, and daily life. Biologists, researchers, and regulators, all over the world, must wake up to the fact that environmental pollutants might be the root cause of these unusual strange behaviors in animals that are detrimental to human life.
Could This Action Really Kill
Pollutants that are believed to be safe when tested at relatively medium doses could be damaging at lower doses. On the other hand, many toxicologists might exaggerate risks posed by the higher doses. Other behavioral experts also acknowledge the scale of this problem. However, in some quarters, it seems that the body of evidence supporting the impact of pollution in animal behavior have been relegated to the background while most if not all regulators and environmental scientists concentrate on cancer and mortality rates that are caused by these endocrine disruptors, toxins and other pollutants.
The changes in animal behavior, as previously noted, poses some consequent effects to our daily life and health as well. And thanks to some meticulous researchers, regulators, toxicologists, and environmentalists who focused on this scary stuff. Because without them, who would have known about these effects?