Studies suggest that face mites might reveal the origin of mankind. The minuscule creatures that never leave us alone have been around for a very long time, quite possibly since the beginning. In fact, studies show that they have been living on humans since before the modern man.
All people have mites – 100% of the people tested – but they have different populations. Face mites, it seems, are transmitted within families: from parents to children, across generations. A person may carry mites that are specific to a certain part of the world for a very long time after they have moved someplace else.
This suggests that some variants of mites are better adapted to living on people from certain world regions than others.
Studies have shown that some African-Americans still have lineages particular to Africa, despite their American ancestry going back for centuries. In fact, people have different types of mites depending on where in the world they live. And the fact that they stick with their hosts for so long could help researchers determine how the populations migrated in the past.
The Demodex folliculorum are arachnids that live on hairs all over the human body (including facial hair, eyebrows and eyelashes) and feed on skin oils and cells. They are completely harmless in most human beings, but they can cause rosacea or blepharitis, which is why scientists believe it is so important to learn more about them.
Another interesting discovery is that face mites are not easily transmitted. They are mainly shared by family members because it is very difficult to give them to people that we meet in the street. In fact, they require that the contact between people be quite close in order to change hosts.
The DNA tests were carried out on 29 people and all of the ones over 18 had the Demodex folliculorum. This suggests that younger people may not always have them, but that most all adults do – they were found on most cadavers.
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