Lice hang ancient date on first clothes | Science News

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Lice hang ancient date on first clothes

Genetic analysis puts origin at 190,000 years ago

By
10:44am, April 20, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE — For once lice are nice, at least for scientists investigating the origins of garments.

Using DNA to trace the evolutionary split between head and body lice, researchers conclude that body lice first came on the scene approximately 190,000 years ago. And that shift, the scientists propose, followed soon after people first began wearing clothing.

The new estimate, presented April 16 at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists annual meeting, sheds light on a poorly understood cultural development that allowed people to settle in northern, cold regions, said Andrew Kitchen of Pennsylvania State University in University Park.
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