Sunday, October 01, 2006

Uh!!! You're gonna love this

All informations are collected from Pour la Science, October's number

We all know lice, right? Most of us, at a certain stage of their lives, had to deal with lice issues. But did you know that the difference between head lice and body lice? Well of course there's the fact that one live in the head and the other live on the skin of the rest of the body… Duh.

But the scientifically interesting aspect of this duality is the fact that both belong to the same specie but can't reproduce together. They belong to 2 different sub-species:

  • Pediculus humanus humanus
  • (body)
  • Pediculus humanus capitis
  • (head)

In general, capitis and humanus should be able to breed, since they belong to the same specie like the different races of humans but this is an exception, as there are many exceptions in nature.
Pretty cool, huh? But that's an off-topic, because that's not what I'm here to talk to you about. Let's get to the point:

Lice are parasites, and parasites can tell us about our past, judging from the divergence of the parasites you can get information about the intimacy of the hosts.

example #1 studies have shown that Pediculus humanus humanus was born in Africa some 70 000 years ago, Human race is believed to have left Africa slightly before that date

example #2 Human lice and Chimpanzee lice diverted some 5,6 millions years ago… That's when humans and chimps diverted too

But here's the riddle:
Pubic tics are not part of the Pediculus humanus… It's a Phtirus, Phtirus pubis, but it's the same order. Well, guess who's it's closest relative to our pubic friend? It's our friend Phtirus gorillae

Why would our Pubic lice be related to Gorilla lice? And they accuse Arabs of being goat fuckers!


Jos said...

Your post reminded me of an incident that happened with me last year I think:

I work in a 'Community Clinic', with doctors from different specializations. We have a 'Break Room'; where all doctors go, during their break, to rest, drink coffee and chit chats. Anyway... One day, the dermatologist enters the room, holding a white paper in his hand. We were all sitting in there, around the table, relaxing and talking. He stood next to the table and put the white paper on it and opens it! Inside, we saw a disgusting black 'insect' or whatever moving around. He was like:"Do you know what this is?” We all said:"NO". So he stood still, smirked and said:"It's a Pubic louse!!”. A huge "Ewwwww...” exploded in the 'Break Room'. I don't know how to describe the few minutes after this great declaration. We were all jumping in the room and bouncing the walls.
Anyway, the story has a happy ending; the 'louse' was crashed and thrown away from the window. But, we all knew that we will never stay in the same room with this dermatologist, if we'll ever gonna see him coming inside it, with a 'white paper' in his hands...

Chris in MB said...

This makes me wonder why lice would be dedicated to only one species of host?

Why wouldn't a human louse also enjoy a gorilla & vice versa?

For example, most leeches don't seem to care if they dine on human, turtle, dog, moose, ....or whatever blood!

Wait! It just came to me!
Perhaps Gorilla hair is do I put this...., similar to human pubic hair & provides the proper habitat? Never having touched a Gorilla before I wouldn't know this for sure.

jos, that's pretty bad!

Pazuzu said...


cool dermatologist:D

that should be what happened but it's still weird, dont you think?

Chris in MB said...

hehe, I like how you find such things amusing/interesting, but at the same time you're also exposing me as a serious nerd!

I'm trying to suppress my internal nerd & you're not helping very much! I put way to much thought into these sorts of things.

Pazuzu said...

aw come on chris, don't repress yourself... Express your inner self