The Loh Down On Science


Eradicate bedbugs with Rogaine?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Compared to our primate cousins, humans look pretty hairless. But, surprise! Follicle for follicle we have the same hair density of any primate our size.

Michael Siva-Jothy, of Britain's Sheffield University figured our peach fuzz must serve some purpose, but what? Not warmth. Protection. From what?

Maybe ... Bugs?

To find out, he documented the hairy-ness of 20 volunteers, and shaved the arms of about half. Then he blindfolded each volunteer, applied bedbugs, and timed how long till each bug attempted a bite.

Result? Bed bugs took longer on hairy arms, as they struggled to get below the hair. UN-shaved
volunteers detected the beasties faster than their shaved counterparts.

Siva-Jothy says humans probably dumped fur because bugs can hide in it. We kept our milder hair as a barrier--and hair's nerve endings provide a ticklish antibug warning system.

So single ladies, next time you see a hairy-backed guy at the beach, he may be the bug-free one to cuddle up with! Or not.

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