Natterson-Horowitz (Cardiology/UCLA School of Medicine) and former Atlantic Monthly editor Bowers investigate the correlation between human and animal health issues.
Cancer, heart attacks, obesity and STDs are afflictions most people associate with humans. However, the authors demonstrate that these are also common ailments in the animal world. Fascinated with the health connection between animals and humans, the authors coin the term "zoobiquity," which means the “connecting, species-spanning approach to the diagnostic and therapeutic puzzles of clinical medicine.” By accepting our common genetic backgrounds, the authors propose an increase in the exchange of medical information between doctors and veterinarians, as human behavior parallels that of animals in many different arenas. Masturbation, homosexuality and rape are common in the animal world. The "feather-picking disorder" of birds plucking feathers until they bleed is similar to the "cutting" teenage girls administer to themselves. Anorexia can be linked to the nervous behaviors of our "animal forebears,” who lived with the constant fear of not having enough to eat, or of being eaten. The wild behavior of some adolescent males mimics the impulsive antics of still-maturing rats and primates. Sudden noises or traumatic accidents and natural disasters cause an uptick in cardiomyopathy in humans and animals, even if there is no evidence of heart disease in either species. Whether discussing koala bears with chlamydia, stallions with performance dysfunction, or Tasmanian wallabies intoxicated on poppy sap, the authors provide solid evidence that humans are not as far removed from the rest of the natural world as we might have thought.
Engaging, useful account of the similarities between humans and other animals.