(Yes, there’s room for more where that one is going…)
It’s not really a new story but it will serve to set the tone:
“What’s making toads puff up and explode in northern Europe? More than 1,000 toad corpses have been found at a pond in an upscale neighborhood in Hamburg and over the border in Denmark after bloating and bursting. It’s left onlookers baffled. The pond water in Hamburg has been tested, but its quality is no better or worse than elsewhere in the city. The toad remains have been checked for a virus or bacterium, but none has been found. One German scientist studying the splattered amphibian remains has a theory: Hungry crows are pecking out their livers.”
So, what happens is: Toads have this defence system. They will puff out their chests, to make themselves look bigger when anything threatens them. Crows are pretty smart birds though and they have found a way to use this defence mechanism against the toads. They will pick at the breast of the toad. Then, the toad does this self-inflating trick but with a small puncture in its chest – so, the added pressure makes the hole much bigger and innards & organs spill out.
Miller – or liver – Time for the crows…
Now, let’s stick with food issues and bodily functions, for a bit - and the way one species tries to use certain information about the behaviour of another species, to make predictions about the long time health of the latter.
Change the poor doomed toads into Coke guzzlers and the crows into white coats and you get the general idea.
Though I have to say I have more sympathy for the suffering toads.
Also, crows are better at this game than scientists.
Crows get to eat fresh liver. All the scientists get for their lugubrious pains is some lukewarm headlines in the tabloids:
“Drinking large amounts of cola every day can cause muscle problems, an irregular heartbeat and even paralysis, doctors have warned. Chronic consumption of the drink can cause a condition called hypokalaemia, in which levels of potassium in the blood fall, in some patients. Symptoms can range from mild weakness and constipation to paralysis. Researchers said that family doctors should look out for muscle problems in people who drink large amounts of cola, after finding that patients who drank between two and 10 litres a day developed the condition.”
First of all, I think people who drink 10 litres of Coke a day deserve to have their livers picked out by crows – though I’m not sure these livers would make very healthy snacks for those crows.
On the other hand, it seems to me that folks who drink so much of that crap might have other things to worry about than hypokalaemia or peckish crows.
It’s a bit like someone who’s standing on top of the Eiffel Tower, with a Colt .45 in his hand. So, yes, he really wants to shoot himself in the head but he also can’t stop worrying about falling to his death, afterwards…
In other words, drinking that much Coke will hurt (and quite probably kill) you anyway, even without the hypokalaemia. Especially, when you consider the rest of the diet of such a person.
Somehow, I find it very hard to believe that anyone who drinks that much Coke a day, will follow a more sensible diet, the rest of the time. I think it more likely for buckets of KFC lard to be dumped into those inner Coke lakes than for a sad few leaves of salad to float forlornly on top of them.
To be honest, hypokalaemia could be the best thing to happen to these kinds of consumers. Paralysis would at least assure they would no longer be able to drink (and perhaps eat) all of that crap.
(I know I've done this clip before but I really couldn't think of anything more appropriate...)