We don’t really know that much about the human body. Sure, we mostly know how it works, and we managed to find out a few tricks to keep it working after it should have stopped, but there is a huge number of things that are still a mystery. For example, according to a new study performed all over the world, face and hair mites are windows into your past.
- Humans are hosts to two mite species that aren’t related to each other
- Mites belong to the arachnid family, thus being official arthropods
- Though generally harmless, mites are associated with some skin and eye disorders, like rosacea and blepharitis
- There is a theory claiming that every human alive today originates from the same group that eveolved at some point in Africa
Or, if you want to put it in a less romanticized manner, by analyzing the tiny arachnids that live on your face and head, scientists can discover from where you originate.
Dr. Michelle Trautwein, academy curator of entomology and author of the study, went on a trip around the world in order to help her study on D. folliculorum or as we commonly know it, the face mite.
Her travels took her to San Francisco, Sweden and the Peruvian Amazon.
Throughout her travels, the doctor collected samples of face mites from over 70 people, via multiple ways, and analyzed the arachnids’ mitochondrial DNA.
The results were so fascinating, that Dr. Trautwein will extendher travels to Australia, Mozambique, China, and Antarctica in order to further investigate mankind’s perennial companions.
According to her studies, the face mites are much more tied into our personal and genealogical histories than previously believed.
Studying the creatures’ mitochondrial DNA, the doctor worked with citizen scientists along her travels and eventually reached the conclusion that mite families live on their hosts for generations.
The scientists discovered that just by asking a person where they originate, they could accurately predict the type of mites they would encounter on the person’s face.
In some cases, African-American citizens were found to still have mites that originated in Africa.
Apparently, the tiny parasitic arachnids don’t really change hosts throughout their generations, with the exception of intense, prolonged physical contact.
So, according to the study, families can trace back their genealogy by testing the mitochondrial DNA from the mites living on them.
Image source: Wikimedia