Tasmanian Devils Are Dying Due To A Contagious Cancer
Devil Facial Tumor Disease is one of only three known types of contagious cancers (none of which are found in humans). Tasmanian devils transmit it to one another by biting—a common behavior among the marsupials. The cancer causes facial tumors that eventually eliminate the devil's ability to eat. It seems to have a 100% mortality rate in infected animals, and has killed the majority of the wild Tasmanian devil population.
Check Out This Month's Most Popular Topic
from Smarter Every Day
Key Facts In This Video
Tasmanian devils are dying out due to a contagious cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease. (1:22)
DFTD has a 100% mortality rate, as the tumors eventually prohibit the Tasmanian devil from eating. (5:14)
DFTD affects cells in the nervous system called Schwann cells. (7:38)