On Saturday, Ohio State will play Michigan in the annual renewal of the greatest rivalry in sports. Each year, Michigan Week is a much-anticipated time, when every member of Buckeye Nation focuses anew on The Game.
But here at Webner House, we are also about education. And today, we’re interested in learning about Michigan’s mascot, the Wolverine. It looks like a deranged skunk, and it’s a member of the weasel family. So far, it seems like an appropriate mascot for Michigan, all right. But what about other attributes of the animal? Specifically, does a Wolverine have any kind of special odor?
Imagine our surprise when we learned that, according to environmentalgraffiti.com, the wolverine is one of the seven smelliest creatures in the world — right there between the bombardier beetle, which shoots a stinky combination of liquid and gas from its rear end, and the musk ox, which has exceptionally smelly urine. The website explains about wolverines: “They’re seldom seen by humans, but they’re frequently smelled. Like most members of the weasel family, the wolverine has glands that it secretes fluid from to mark its territory. The musky scent is supposed to be very unpleasant, and has given the wolverine the colourful nicknames of ‘skunk bear’ and ‘nasty cat’.”
It’s official — even environmentalists think the Wolverines stink!
“Polio?”, you say. “That terrible affliction that paralyzed thousands of American children each year? But polio was eradicated by the development of the Salk vaccine.” Yes, but a vaccine can only work if the shot is delivered. In war-torn Syria, some children aren’t receiving their vaccinations — and the polio virus is still out there, lurking and ready to spread its infection that, for some unlucky few, will produce paralysis.
This is one of those stories that don’t get much attention because it isn’t threatening to most of us — at least, not right now. But the spread of “superbugs,” and the overuse of antibiotics that often kill “good” bacteria that are found in every human, are an enormously important public health issue. We need to stop the overuse of antibiotics that have contributed to the development of drug-resistant bacteria and focus on developing new vaccines and forms of treatment to fight the superbugs. Otherwise, one day we might wake up to find that the stout antibiotic line of defense that has protected humans from all manner of deadly diseases is simply gone.