podcast

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

 

Gorillas Gave Pubic Lice to Humans, DNA Study Reveals

‘What exactly went on between gorillas and early humans? No one knows for sure, but scientists say one thing, at least, seems certain: The big apes gave us pubic lice.

Researchers made the uncomfortable discovery during a DNA study reconstructing the evolutionary history of lice in humans and our primate relatives.

The transfer occurred about 3.3 million years ago, said study leader David Reed, of the University of Florida in Gainesville. That’s when the gorilla louse and the human pubic louse separated into distinct species, the research revealed. [..]

Pubic lice are spread most commonly through sexual contact, but that’s not necessarily how our ancestors acquired the parasite from gorillas.

“Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure,” Reed said. [..]‘




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