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Extinct humans left louse legacy(Homo Erectus and Homo Sapiens)
BBC News ^ | 10/06/04 | Paul Rincon

Posted on 10/16/2004 3:53:39 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster

Extinct humans left louse legacy

By Paul Rincon

BBC News Online science staff

The evolutionary history of head lice is tied very closely to that of their hosts Some head lice infesting people today were probably spread to us thousands of years ago by an extinct species of early human, a genetics study reveals.

It shows that when our ancestors left Africa after 100,000 years ago, they made direct contact with tribes of "archaic" peoples, probably in Asia.

Lice could have jumped from them on to our ancestors during fights, sex, clothes-sharing or even cannibalism.

Details of the research appear in the open access journal Plos Biology.

The evidence comes from a genetic analysis of the human head louse (Pediculus humanus). Researchers found two types living on humans today.

One group has a worldwide distribution, while another, less common, type is found only in the Americas.

Of lice and men

Because head lice are unable to survive more than a few hours or days away from a human, their evolutionary history is tied in very closely to that of their hosts.

Just like Homo sapiens, the group of head lice found worldwide underwent a so-called population "bottleneck". This is an event that cuts the amount of genetic diversity in a population.

One explanation is that the human population was reduced in size before it expanded again after 100,000 years ago, as small bands of hunters left Africa. As human populations mushroomed, so did those of head lice that lived on them.

However, the less common group of lice do not exhibit this signature. Their genes suggest population sizes in the past were much more stable.

The analysis revealed the two different groups of head lice diverged from each other around 1.18 million years ago.

The study authors propose that the less common group evolved on an extinct group of humans which remained isolated from our ancestors until some tens of thousands of years ago, when they re-established contact with each other.

Known exchanges

David Reed, from the Florida Museum of Natural History and the lead author on the new research, commented: "We either battled with them, or lived with them or mated with them. Regardless, we touched them, and that is pretty dramatic to think about."

Professor Chris Stringer, head of human origins at London's Natural History Museum, told BBC News: "Some degree of human contact would have been necessary to reunite the two lineages of head lice found in recent humans, although the contact was not necessarily extensive or prolonged."

It is well known that our ancestors overlapped for thousands of years in Europe with that continent's original inhabitants, the Neanderthals.

"There is indirect evidence of contact between modern humans and Neanderthals in Europe in the form of exchanges of concepts or actual items of body decoration," said Professor Stringer.

"However, the lice divergence date looks too ancient for the inferred separation time of Neanderthals and modern humans."

American mystery

The paper's authors agree and instead suggest that it may fit a more ancient separation between the human lineage that led to Homo sapiens and one that led to a species known as Homo erectus.

This split probably occurred anywhere between 1.8 million years ago and 1.2 million years ago.

"If you do the calibrations on the split, that's the only one that makes any sense," co-author Dr Vince Smith, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told BBC News.

By one million years ago, Homo erectus was established both in Africa and in East Asia. In Asia, erectus could have remained isolated until a second wave of migration out of Africa brought modern humans into contact with them - and their lice - after 100,000 years ago.

Dates on animal teeth recovered with erectus fossils at Ngandong on the island of Java, places them there between 53,000 and 27,000 years ago - at a time when our own ancestors were appearing elsewhere in the world.

However, this does not explain why the louse lineage that evolved on archaic humans is restricted to the Americas.

"There must have been some contact between archaic humans and modern humans in Asia. The modern humans then moved into the New World via Beringia (an ancient land bridge between Siberia and Alaska)," said Dr Smith.

"But there are still a lot of questions that need to be resolved."

Sex connection

The researchers now want to study other human parasites to discover whether similar patterns are written in their DNA.

In particular, a genetic study of pubic lice would help support or refute theories of intimate contact, says Smith.

But Frank Huffman, an anthropologist at the University of Texas at Austin, US, is cautious about making the link between Homo sapiens and H. erectus in Asia.

"There's good evidence to place Homo erectus and modern humans together in time, but not necessarily spatially together," he told BBC News.

The research has pleased proponents of the Out of Africa theory of human evolution, in which Homo sapiens replaced earlier human groups throughout the world.

It would also, therefore, seem to reject the so-called Multiregional Hypothesis, in which modern humans evolved from "archaic" populations like Homo erectus and the Neanderthals already established throughout the Old World.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: america; americas; archaeology; australia; bering; clovis; crabs; dna; evolution; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; history; homoerectus; homosapiens; lice; mtdna; multiregionalism; paleontology; parasite; parasites; preclovis; precolumbian; primates; replacement

1 posted on 10/16/2004 3:53:40 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster; blam; SunkenCiv; JimSEA; Fedora; AdmSmith

Ping!


2 posted on 10/16/2004 3:54:16 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Paleocooties?


3 posted on 10/16/2004 3:59:12 AM PDT by Salamander (Pirates of the Appalachians)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
fascinating
4 posted on 10/16/2004 4:06:39 AM PDT by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

5 posted on 10/16/2004 4:11:56 AM PDT by miltonim (Fight those who do not believe in Allah. - Koran, Surah IX: 29)
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To: Salamander
LOL!
6 posted on 10/16/2004 4:13:33 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Democrats.. Socialists..Commies..Traitors...Who can tell the difference?)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Some head lice infesting people today were ...

Holy Moley! And here I thought Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was only a movie.

7 posted on 10/16/2004 4:13:58 AM PDT by elli1
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Just like politicians, whores and lawyers. Except that whores can gain respectability with age.


8 posted on 10/16/2004 4:26:58 AM PDT by Khurkris (Marriage makes beer taste better.)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
"We either battled with them, or lived with them or mated with them. Regardless, we touched them, and that is pretty dramatic to think about."

How does one "mate" with a head louse? Isn't this a physiologic impossibility?

9 posted on 10/16/2004 4:37:28 AM PDT by Born Conservative (20 years of votes can tell you much more about a man than 20 weeks of campaign rhetoric-Zell Miller)
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To: neverdem

Ping


10 posted on 10/16/2004 4:37:45 AM PDT by Born Conservative (20 years of votes can tell you much more about a man than 20 weeks of campaign rhetoric-Zell Miller)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
However, this does not explain why the louse lineage that evolved on archaic humans is restricted to the Americas.

The lice were living on Big Foot?

11 posted on 10/16/2004 4:46:06 AM PDT by Lessismore
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To: Caipirabob

Reading about this kinda stuff makes me *itch*!...LOL!


12 posted on 10/16/2004 4:47:08 AM PDT by Salamander (Pirates of the Appalachians)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
There must have been some contact between archaic humans and modern humans in Asia.

Isn't this language awfully judgmental? I mean, 'archaic' sounds so archaic. They had their own culture and who are modern men to say that one is new and one is old?

13 posted on 10/16/2004 4:59:04 AM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Moral: Don't get too close to left-wing women.


14 posted on 10/16/2004 6:32:46 AM PDT by thoughtomator ("!Allahu Snackbar" - the war cry of the pajamadeen - Let's stop VOTE FRAUD NOW! Write your reps!)
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To: ModelBreaker
They had their own culture and who are modern men to say that one is new and one is old?

My guess is that these "archaic" humans were in fact superior to the so-called "modern" humans of the time. It is only a guess and a theory, but for lovers of ancient history such as myself it provokes the imagination.

The ancient world, and most certainly ancient America, was most likely a far more COLORFUL place than "professional" archaeologists, etc. with fancy academic degrees are willing to admit, especially those of a certain political persuasion who are so blinded by "political correctness" and their peculiar take on "multiculturalism," and by their concerns for the "loss" of aboriginal rights that an admission of the TRUTH would allegedly cause........but I digress.

15 posted on 10/16/2004 7:19:22 AM PDT by albertp (Malice in Blunderland, The Wizard of Odd, Gullible's Troubles! Steal the wealth, spread the poverty.)
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To: Lessismore

My thoughts exactly.


16 posted on 10/16/2004 7:37:06 AM PDT by Inyo-Mono (Proud member of P.O.O.P., People Offended by Offended People.)
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To: ModelBreaker
Yeah, it's judgmental, and rooted in bigotry, and not rooted in the data.
George W. Bush will be reelected by a margin of at least ten per cent

Election 2004 threads on FR

17 posted on 10/16/2004 7:40:09 AM PDT by SunkenCiv ("All I have seen teaches me trust the Creator for all I have not seen." -- Emerson)
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To: Flyer; humblegunner; GOP_Thug_Mom; Allegra; TheMom; Xenalyte; bobbyd; thackney; Eaker; ...

ping!


18 posted on 10/16/2004 7:43:03 AM PDT by pax_et_bonum (Since John Kerry dislikes labels, why doesn't he remove his "Catholic" one?)
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To: TigerLikesRooster; albertp; blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; SunkenCiv; 24Karet; ...
Thanks, TigerLikesRooster, very interesting article. Good points, albertp.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
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-- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

19 posted on 10/16/2004 7:43:06 AM PDT by SunkenCiv ("All I have seen teaches me trust the Creator for all I have not seen." -- Emerson)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Hmmmm. Supporting evidece here:

Mexico Discovery Fuels Debate About Man's Origins

20 posted on 10/16/2004 8:03:21 AM PDT by null and void (They're lighting their arrows! Can they DO that?!?!?!)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
..."or even cannibalism" What kind of lice eat lice?
21 posted on 10/16/2004 8:34:58 AM PDT by Henchman (Kerry: No guts, No Glory, No way!)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
another, less common, type [of lice] is found only in the Americas.

Samples were collected in California in Humboldt County, the Haight Ashbury District of San Francisco, Topanga Canyon in LA County, Harbison Canyon in San Diego County, and nationwide wherever the species Hippius Erectus was known to live and breed during their heyday.

22 posted on 10/16/2004 8:37:24 AM PDT by ElkGroveDan (Santorum 2008)
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To: thoughtomator

"Moral: Don't get too close to left-wing women ..." Geez that takes care of 80% of Hollywood women!


23 posted on 10/16/2004 8:46:43 AM PDT by Mr. C
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To: Lessismore

....The lice were living on Big Foot?....

How about "The lice are living on Big Foot"

If Big Foot is H.erectus the evolutionary mystery will be resolved when a living individual is captured.




24 posted on 10/16/2004 8:47:40 AM PDT by bert (Peace is only halftime !)
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To: elli1
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was only a movie.

Coming soon on the Scifi Channel...TICKS, the movie.

25 posted on 10/16/2004 8:54:32 AM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :)
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To: blam
The analysis revealed the two different groups of head lice diverged from each other around 1.18 million years ago. The study authors propose that the less common group evolved on an extinct group of humans which remained isolated from our ancestors until some tens of thousands of years ago, when they re-established contact with each other.
The thing that amazes me is how obvious, clear evidence that Replacement is horse**** is rejected, and every single DNA study is saddled on right away as evidence in favor of Replacement.

George W. Bush will win reelection by a margin of at least ten per cent.
Election 2004 topics list


26 posted on 10/16/2004 5:34:09 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("All I have seen teaches me trust the Creator for all I have not seen." -- Emerson)
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To: SunkenCiv
"The thing that amazes me is how obvious, clear evidence that Replacement is horse**** is rejected, and every single DNA study is saddled on right away as evidence in favor of Replacement. "

Ditto.

27 posted on 10/16/2004 6:05:12 PM PDT by blam
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To: TigerLikesRooster

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To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
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28 posted on 05/04/2009 1:24:26 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Just updating the GGG information, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


29 posted on 05/26/2013 4:59:55 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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