From BigNews Network:
Humans acquired pubic lice from gorillas
And no it rather due any interaction of an intimate kind, but rather from sleeping in gorilla nests or eating the giant apes that helped in transmitting the insects onto humans, said David Reed, assistant curator of mammals at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus and one of the study’s authors.
“It certainly wouldn’t have to be what many people are going to immediately assume it might have been, and that is sexual intercourse occurring between humans and gorillas.
Instead of something sordid, it could easily have stemmed from an activity that was considerably more tame,” said Reed in his study in the current edition of the BMC Biology journal.
According to Reed, around 3.3 million years ago, lice found on gorillas began to infest humans.
While humans play host to two kinds of lice, one on the head and body (Pediculus), and the other on the pubic region, crab lice (Pthirus), chimps and gorillas have lice only on the head and pubic region respectively.
That they took up residence in the pubic region may have coincided with humans’ loss of hair on the rest of their bodies and the lack of any other suitable niche, said Reed.
Reed said understanding the history of lice is important because these tiny insects give clues about the lifestyles of early hominids and evolution of modern humans.
See also here.
Bonobos, including video: here.
Putting on clothing to protect our woefully hair-deficient bodies is one of the key moments in the history of becoming human. Just when our species took this step, however, is open to a fair amount of guesswork—scientists can’t exactly dig up fossilized parkas and trousers. But what scientists can do is determine roughly when two species diverged, and that has made all the difference: Using the lice that have traveled with people for thousands of years, a team has tracked the time that humans first became dedicated followers of fashion—perhaps as long as 170,000 years ago: here.
Guardian: Jumping fleas reveal their secrets to Cambridge scientists: here.