Hominin round-up

Our tenacious companions.

Male human head louse, Pediculus humanus capit...
Male human head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis (credit: Wikipedia)

Until recently humans and lice were inseparable and the same goes for all primates, and nearly all mammals. However, unlike fleas, which happily will suck any blood that is going provided it is easily tapped, lice are tailored to their hosts. Should a baboon louse, for instance, get into your short and curlies it will almost certainly die. In any case, again unlike fleas, the louse cannot leap: they spread through intimate contact. The human head louse spreads especially well among nursery- and infant-school children, as any parent knows, because lessons often involve them literally getting their heads together. Less well known is that Pediculus humanus eschew soiled or greasy hair and it is the well-scrubbed kids who suffer and spread ‘beasts on the head’. Conversely, the clothes louse that carries typhus and other infections is deterred by regular laundry and ironing. And then there is the  Continue reading “Hominin round-up”