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Thanks for listening to Origin Stories! We are on hiatus as we work on new episodes. Our new season will launch in August, and we can't wait to share more stories about how we became human.

Feb 25, 2016

The bad news is that everybody has face mites. The good news is that these tiny cousins of spiders and ticks seem to be harmless for the vast majority of us. 

In this episode, entomologist and evolutionary biologist Michelle Trautwein describes how she and her colleagues collected face mite DNA from a variety of volunteers for a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The results of the study were surprising and further confirmed our current understanding of human migration through time.

Listen as we explore the lives of these close personal friends of ours, and learn how they may help us answer new questions about our own evolution.

Learn more and see photos if you dare, on The Leakey Foundation blog.


Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. The Leakey Foundation advances human origins research and offers educational opportunities that cultivate a deeper, collective understanding of what it means to be human. 

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Transcripts are provided by Adept Word Management.


Global divergence of the human follicle mite Demodex folliculorum: Persistent associations between host ancestry and mite lineages

Origin of Clothing Lice Indicates Early Clothing Use by Anatomically Modern Humans in Africa