6 December 2000
‘BSE came from outer space’
By FWi staff
COMETS bombarding the earth with extra-terrestrial bacteria could have caused BSE, claim two top academics.
Cattle wintered outside in England and Wales could have contracted the disease from eating grass laced with interstellar dust, reports the Ananova website.
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, of the University of Wales, Cardiff, says growing evidence suggests all life on Earth came from the stars.
The professor of applied mathematics and astronomy at Cardiffs University of Wales has put forward the theory with Cambridge University counterpart, Professor Sir Fred Hoyle.
They believe particles from passing comets can enter the Earths atmosphere, bringing with them micro-bacteria.
“It may seem a way-out position, but the fact is the theory is starting to gain currency throughout the academic world,” Professor Wickramasinghe told Ananova.
“We believe that the almost unique Welsh and English practice of out-wintering cattle explains why BSE hit more severely here than elsewhere.
“Out-wintering cattle does not happen in Scotland, or Ireland or anywhere on the Continent,” he said.
Contaminated feed containing bonemeal made from sheep infected with scrapie is widely believed to be the most plausible explanation for the source of BSE.
Other theories range from organophosphate pesticides and mud microbes to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and even imbalances in traditional Chinese Yin and Yang.