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In Lice, Clues to Human Origin and Attire
NY Times ^ | March 8, 2007 | NICHOLAS WADE

Posted on 03/07/2007 11:44:13 PM PST by neverdem

One of the more embarrassing mysteries of human evolution is that people are host to no fewer than three kinds of louse while most species have just one.

Even bleaker for the human reputation, the pubic louse, which gets its dates and residence-swapping opportunities when its hosts are locked in intimate embrace, does not seem to be a true native of the human body. Its closest relative is the gorilla louse. (Don’t even think about it.)

Louse specialists now seem at last to have solved the question of how people came by their superabundance of fellow travelers. And in doing so they have shed light on the two major turning points in the history of fashion: when people lost their body hair, and when they first made clothing.

Three kinds of louse call Homo sapiens their home, but each occupies a different niche on the human body. The head louse, Pediculus humanus, lives in the forest of fine hairs on the scalp. Its cousin, the body louse, lives not on the skin but in clothes. And the exclusive territory of the pubic louse, Phthirus pubis, is the coarser hairs of the crotch.

Lice are intimately adapted to their hosts and cannot long survive away from the body’s blood and warmth. If their host evolves into two species, the lice will do likewise. So biologists have long been puzzled over the fact that the human head louse is a sister species to the chimpanzee louse, but the pubic louse is closely related to the gorilla louse.

By comparing louse DNA, a team led by David L. Reed of the University of Florida has now reconstructed how this strange situation probably came about. Dr. Reed’s team collected pubic lice from a public health clinic in Salt Lake City. Samples of gorilla lice...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: crabs; dnatesting; evolution; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; lice; originofclothing; science
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Left, The Natural History Museum, London; right, Mona Lisa Productions/Photo Researchers
Scientists believe they have figured out how and why the human pubic louse, right, and the gorilla louse, left, diverged 3.3 million years ago.

This pic was a lead to the story. It had no source.

1 posted on 03/07/2007 11:44:16 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

This is so funny. It is just one plain lousy article.


2 posted on 03/08/2007 12:04:32 AM PST by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: taxesareforever
I'm scratching over here.

'thinking about gettin' the gasoline, icepick and matches out.

3 posted on 03/08/2007 12:14:33 AM PST by Rudder
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To: neverdem

Interesting...


4 posted on 03/08/2007 12:21:59 AM PST by citizencon
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To: Rudder; taxesareforever
thinking about gettin' the gasoline, icepick and matches out

LOL! I agree. I don't care where those little sob's came from or where they are going (in the grand scheme of things) jus' keep 'em off me!

Twitching leg Wolf
5 posted on 03/08/2007 12:29:22 AM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: neverdem
“The transfer doesn’t have to be sexual,” he said, “but presumably it does require reasonably close contact.”

I like how the Slimes puts that sentence last in the article. The average pervert who reads that paper needs something "upbeat" and "optimistic" for them to leave with.

6 posted on 03/08/2007 12:36:08 AM PST by Captainpaintball
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To: Captainpaintball
Well how about the average young person (that we all were for the most part)

And like they said 'doesn’t have to be sexual' but 'does require reasonably close contact'
7 posted on 03/08/2007 12:54:43 AM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: RunningWolf

I remember reading a book a few years ago about USMC Boot Camp and one of the things that had happened to that training platoon was a case of crabs spread at the rifle range.


8 posted on 03/08/2007 1:21:02 AM PST by Fire_on_High (I am so proud of what we were...)
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To: RunningWolf
Bathroom towels are also suspect(at a party, or as a result of an "indiscretion").
You don't want to know.
9 posted on 03/08/2007 3:59:56 AM PST by mikeybaby (long time lurker)
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To: neverdem
If their host evolves into two species, the lice will do likewise.

Have we seen this happen? Any evidence? Or is this pure speculation masquerading as science?

10 posted on 03/08/2007 4:10:15 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (Enoch Powell was right.)
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To: ClearCase_guy
Actually its science attempting to explain the observed facts of the universe, as it does.

Now put your fingers in your ears and go "wa wa I can't hear you", as you do

11 posted on 03/08/2007 4:14:36 AM PST by Oztrich Boy (make peace with your Ann, Whatever you conceive her to be: hairy thunderer or cosmic muffin.)
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To: neverdem
the exclusive territory of the pubic louse, Phthirus pubis, is the coarser hairs of the crotch.

Bubba has a new nickname....


12 posted on 03/08/2007 4:15:50 AM PST by Cincinatus (Omnia relinquit servare Republicam)
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To: neverdem
Sorry, I just can help posting this, especially after seeing a Buba pic on this thread:


13 posted on 03/08/2007 5:05:27 AM PST by upchuck (Oh, so they have Internet on computers now! ~ H. Simpson)
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To: neverdem

Anyone with kids or house guests knows how the pests got dragged in.
And they say you don't NEED a powder room!


14 posted on 03/08/2007 5:20:33 AM PST by Graymatter
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To: Oztrich Boy

God created crabs...dontchaknow?!


15 posted on 03/08/2007 8:04:28 AM PST by sully777 (You have flies in your eyes--Catch-22)
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To: neverdem; metmom; Junior; RunningWolf; Coyoteman; AndrewC
Lice are intimately adapted to their hosts and cannot long survive away from the body’s blood and warmth. If their host evolves into two species, the lice will do likewise. So biologists have long been puzzled over the fact that the human head louse is a sister species to the chimpanzee louse, but the pubic louse is closely related to the gorilla louse.

BITE ME!


16 posted on 03/08/2007 9:48:42 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going....)
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To: Elsie
Some seven million years ago, this ancient ape species split into gorillas and the ancestors of humans and chimps, with both lineages infected by both species of lice. But Pediculus then fell extinct in its gorilla hosts, according to Dr. Reed’s reconstruction, and Phthirus vanished from the chimp-human ancestor. Next, chimps and humans diverged, and their joint louse diverged with them into Pediculus humanus and Pediculus schaeffi.

The last event in this history of human-louse cohabitation was the transfer of the gorilla’s Phthirus louse to people.

Dr. Stoneking said Dr. Reed’s reconstruction was “pretty reasonable” and said he agreed that acquisition of the gorilla’s louse indicated people had lost their body hair by then. “The transfer doesn’t have to be sexual,” he said, “but presumably it does require reasonably close contact.”

Just another Just-so story.

17 posted on 03/08/2007 10:50:54 AM PST by AndrewC
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To: AndrewC

What a stretch.


18 posted on 03/08/2007 11:34:48 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Oztrich Boy; ClearCase_guy
Actually its science attempting to explain the observed facts of the universe, as it does.

Then I suppose you have documentation to back up this observable fact happening? When was it observed and where? Who were the observers?

19 posted on 03/08/2007 11:36:24 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: neverdem
Rich people don't get the crabs. They get the lobsters!
20 posted on 03/08/2007 11:39:17 AM PST by LIConFem (Thompson/Hunter 2008!)
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