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Thread: What is the killer?

  1. #1 What is the killer? 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Just a fun question for people to attempt. I will give the answer in about a week. No cheating by going to google!!! Hear!!!

    The question is :

    What is the living organism, excluding the two categories below, that kills the most humans?

    Category 1. Other humans.
    Category 2. Anything that causes disease.

    In other words : I am talking of larger, non human animals, that can and will attack, and kill a human. Nothing microscopic. And not people. Which is the biggest killer?


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  3. #2  
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    that's a good question, seeing as how you ruled out my guess (mosquitoes)


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  4. #3  
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    I've always heard that it was hippopotami, water buffalo and elephants in that order. Don't pigs pretty frequently kill farmers? And I wonder how many people choke to death on burgers every year. Does that count?

    While these all seem somewhat viable, I'll guess peacocks.
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  5. #4  
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    Dogs?
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  6. #5  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    I saw a documentary on this a few years ago. In the top 5 were mountain lions, jellyfish, a type of fly, some kind of snake and grizzly bears, I think.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  7. #6  
    Forum Junior newnothing's Avatar
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    crocs and sharks?
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  8. #7  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    The majority of shark attacks are not fatal. And there are only a few thousand shark attacks per year anyway.

    Crocs, also, are rarely encountered.

    I blame hollywood for their bad reputations.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  9. #8  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    I'll guess buffalos.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  10. #9  
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    I'm really curious now. I want to know!
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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  11. #10  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    According to my 100% reliable source (google), it does appear to be hippopotami.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  12. #11  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    My partial answer.

    No, it is not sharks, crocs, hippos, dogs, lions, jellyfish, flies, snakes, bears, elephants, pigs, peacocks, mosquitoes, or even all of them combined.

    The answer is a particular animal, which often attacks people. It is clearly obvious, so that if its victims are looking in the right direction, they will see and hear it coming. Or they may not see it, and get attacked without first noticing it. The attack will be very painful, though.

    My source informs me that this beast actually kills more humans than all others combined, excluding pathogens and other humans. We all know about it, and we are all smart enough to avoid it if we can. It is not some obscure creature living only in Africa.

    When you get the answer, you will probably want to hit me, but everything I have said is true.
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  13. #12  
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    Snakes?
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    Isn't it either hippopotami or polar bears. I do know that polar bears are one of the only animals that will go and hunt humans for food.
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  15. #14  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by settra12
    Isn't it either hippopotami or polar bears. I do know that polar bears are one of the only animals that will go and hunt humans for food.
    Not many people around in their habitat to hunt. Snakes is the one that would make the most sense, but it obviously isn't that, since he already said so. Must be a trick question or something. :?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  16. #15  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    It is not a trick question, though most people have a mental block preventing them getting the correct answer. Obviously, the answer is not obvious, or else someone would already have it. I think I need to finish this quickly, since I will be away from my computer and unable to answer for a few days after today.

    Here is a big clue.

    It is a common animal, and one that most people fear to some degree. Most attacks do not result in death, but enough people are vulnerable, and die as a result of the attack, to make this the biggest killer.
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  17. #16  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    bull/bullock/steer?
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  18. #17  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Not cattle of any kind.

    This creature kills about 50 people per year in the United States. By extension, I would guess it kills over 500 per year globally. Each death is the result of an attack by the animal itself - not something subtle like a mosquito passing on a pathogen.
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  19. #18  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Someone already said dog.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  20. #19  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Dogs are an obvious answer. However, they simply do not kill enough people.
    http://www.dogbitelaw.com/PAGES/statistics.html

    Quote :

    "The number of fatal dog attacks in the USA has been going up. The yearly average was 17 in the 1980s and 1990s; as stated above, there were 33 deaths in 2007, which is roughly double the average in the prior two decades."

    The biggest killer I am asking about kills around 50 per year in the USA, and some years has killed a great many more.
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  21. #20  
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    Hymenopterans (wasps ants and bees)

    Though the way the original question is worded gives the impression that we would be looking for a single species/genus of animal. Hymenoptera is an Order of insects thus if one is going to make a comparison you should compare Hymenoptera deaths to those caused by the class Mammalia, at which point the mammals win out over hymenopterans.
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  22. #21  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Paleo

    You are getting very close. Your comments are correct, and I am asking about a single species.
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  23. #22  
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    Hornets?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  24. #23  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Paleo

    You are getting very close. Your comments are correct, and I am asking about a single species.
    Apis mellifera

    Edit: I have a feeling your friend is going on either this article (http://www.wemjournal.org/wmsonline/...e=02&page=0067) directly or more likely information from the article which has been generalized to "bees" which is often equated to Apis mellifera.

    The statement in the article is
    Animal-related fatalities under the category “other specified animal” (E906.8) comprised 43.5% of all reported fatalities, followed by hornets, bees, and wasps at 27.4% (Table 2 ). When evaluated by venomous or nonvenomous categories, venomous animals caused 39.1% and nonvenomous animals caused 60.9% of the fatalities. Of the venomous animals, hornets, bees, and wasps caused the majority of fatalities (70.2%) (Table 3 ). The average number of fatalities per year was 48 for hymenoptera...
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  25. #24  
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    I'm a lady killer. It's my animal magnetism. didiwin?
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  26. #25  
    Forum Junior newnothing's Avatar
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    army ants
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  27. #26  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    The prize (a pat on the back) goes to paleoichneum.

    Correct. The answer is Apis mellifera - the European honey bee.

    We do not usually think of the humble bee as terrible killers (especially after Disney and Pixel make cute films about them), and they really are not. However, they still kill more people than any other macroscopic animal besides other humans.

    The thing is that 5% of Homo sapiens are allergic to honey bee venom. So when we, of the other 95%, get stung, it hurts like hell, and causes local swelling, but otherwise does us little harm. However, many people are seriously allergic, and when stung go into anaphylactic shock, which leads to death in the absense of appropriate medical care. As I said, about 50 per year in the USA, and a lot more dead people globally, making the honey bee the second biggest macroscopic killer.
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  28. #27  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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  29. #28  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    mother-in-laws don't count as a form of life - they don't have souls
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