Navigation Links
Pubic hair provides evolutionary home for gorilla lice
Date:2/11/2009

There are two species of lice that infest humans: pubic lice, Pthirus pubis, and human head and body lice, Pediculus humanus. A new article in BioMed Central's open access Journal of Biology suggests one explanation for the separation of the two species.

In the article, Robert Weiss from University College London describes how he was struck by inspiration while pondering the question of why lice would separate into two groups when our ancestors are quite uniformly hairy, "I was having difficulty envisioning a clear separation of habitats between the groin and other parts of our ancient common ancestor. My 'eureka moment' came, appropriately enough, in the shower: although naked apes have pubic hair, surely our hairy cousins don't?"

Pthirus pubis, popularly known as crabs, evolved from the structurally similar gorilla louse, Pthirus gorillae. Interestingly however, while genetic analysis carried out by David Reed at the University of Florida indicates that this split occurred around 3.3 million years ago, humans are believed to have diverged from gorillas much earlier - at least 7 million years ago - suggesting that early humans somehow caught pubic lice from their gorilla cousins. Happily, this may not be as sordid as it sounds. According to Weiss, "Before one conjures up a King Kong scenario, it should be noted that predators can pick up parasites from their prey. The close contact involved in human ancestors butchering gorillas could have enabled Pthirus to jump hosts, rather as bushmeat slaughter practices allowed HIV to invade humans from chimpanzees in modern times."

So, while head lice may be viewed as a 'family heirloom', inherited down the generations as humans have evolved, pubic lice may well be a recent and slightly unwelcome gift from the more hirsute branch of our evolutionary family.


'/>"/>

Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
44-020-707-94804
BioMed Central
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1

Related biology news :

1. Improved e-jet printing provides higher resolution and more versatility
2. Canada provides $1.4M for removal of hazardous trees from provincial recreation sites
3. Study involving more than 100 scientists provides new insights on green algae
4. Shell Provides Consumers Gasoline Industrys First Pay By Touch Technology at the Pump
5. Book on little-known species and conservation provides guidance to managers and others
6. HIV isolate from Kenya provides clues for vaccine design
7. Antarctic expedition provides new insights into the role of the Southern Ocean for global climate
8. Mesothelin engineered on virus-like particles provides treatment clues for pancreatic cancer
9. Scripps expedition provides new baseline for coral reef conservation
10. Researcher provides tool to enable determination of age of anchovies with greater precision
11. Research with squirrels provides clues on hormones role in human learning
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ... appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards ... Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive ... their guidance and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... NEW YORK , April 4, 2017   ... solutions, today announced that the United States Patent and ... The patent broadly covers the linking of an iris ... the same transaction) and represents the company,s 45 th ... our latest patent is very timely given the multi-modal ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... March 29, 2017  higi, the health IT company ... North America , today announced a Series ... acquisition of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates ... tools to transform population health activities through the collection ... higi collects and secures data today on ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... For the months of ... a Spotlight series on “Cell Therapy Regulation” for its regenerative medicine ... on the unique regulatory challenges of stem cell medical research. , Stem cell ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... Rocky Hill, CT (PRWEB) , ... June 20, ... ... entrepreneurial support, today announced that the CTNext board of directors has formed a ... developed by a working group composed of institution presidents and other high-ranking representatives ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... ... ... Do More with OHAUS , With the launch of the new laboratory ... industry, to extending its expertise across the entire laboratory to a range of life ... allowing for its customers to 'Do More' in the lab. , Efficiency and ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... ... June 19, 2017 , ... A colony of healthy honey bees ... tissues by delivering pollen and nectar containing nutrients necessary for growth and survival. Better ... , Many recent indicators point to a decline in honey bee health. Sick and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: