|Is the urge to start a company caused by a brain parasite?
When wolves in Yellowstone National Park get infected with a cat parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (or Toxo, as it’s colloquially known), they become more likely to leave their packs and start new ones, according to biologists with the Yellowstone Wolf Project.
If Toxo turns wolves into risk-takers, could it be having the same effect on us?
As senior correspondent Adam Rogers reports, it’s primarily contracted from coming into contact with cat feces, contaminated water, or undercooked meat, and as many as 80% of humans may be Toxo-positive, most of them without even knowing it.
And there’s sketchy but tantalizing evidence that Toxoplasma alters our behavior, too — especially entrepreneurial behavior. Which is to say, many members of our species who exhibit “alpha dog” tendencies in the business realm may be Toxo-positive.
Maybe that business you admire wasn’t founded by the Great and Powerful Oz, a heroic leader of epic proportions; maybe it’s the parasite behind the curtain.
But before wannabe Elon Musks in Silicon Valley start throwing Toxo parties, there are some important caveats you’ll want to know.