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The Coevolution of Lice & Their Hosts 179

eldavojohn writes "It might be an uncomfortable subject but parasites are an interesting subject when it comes to evolution. Ever wonder if pocket gophers have lice? Well, they do. And most interesting of all is the evolution of these lice mirroring the evolution of gophers. To study the genes of lice may shed just as much light on evolutionary trees as studying the genes of the actual host the lice has evolved to. The most unsettling result from these studies is that human head lice and human pubic lice (crabs) vary so greatly that they are in two separate genera. There were similarities between our pubic lice and the lice found on gorillas. Scientists came to the conclusion, which they published today in BMC Biology, is just as striking as their earlier one about head lice. But it is hardly the same. We did not get pubic lice from other hominids. We got them from the ancestors of gorillas."

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