World Cup winners written in the entrails?

World Cup winners written in the entrails?

World Cup winners written in the entrails?

Forget Paul the octopus. The winners, it seems, are written in the cat intestines.

The Guardian suggested the novel way to predict the outcomes of World Cup matches - and crunched the numbers to prove it.

Based on an hypothesis originally suggested by neuroscientist Patrick House in 2010, the paper analysed levels of tiny parasite called toxoplasma gondii.

This parasite, which reproduces in cat intestines, causes toxoplasmosis and can be transferred to humans via raw meat or animal faeces (lovely).

World Cup winners written in the entrails?

Toxoplasma gondii all starts with kitty.

Once inside a human, though, this parasite can cause a variety of odd side-effects – including increased reaction time and potentially increased testosterone production in males.

In his original article, House wondered whether countries with higher incidences of infection would, given the unusual effects, therefore perform better in World Cups. The answer? Just maybe.

So The Guardian decided to work out predictions based on current rates of infection and compare those predictions to both the ESPN Soccer Predictor and economists Goldman Sachs.

The parasite equalled ESPN's prediction rate and considerably out-performed the economists.

It correctly backed Germany to beat Brazil, and fares better than ESPN's soccer power index (SPI).

Interested in having a flutter based on this charming little infection? Toxoplasma gondii has Argentina to come out on top top tonight but then be beaten by Germany in the final.

Coincidence? Of course. But the statistics tell us it makes as much sense or more than placing bets based on psychic animals - or expert pundits.

You can get the full details here.

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