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parasitic lice

Lice and Human Evolution
Image: iStockphoto.com/xrender

Lice and Human Evolution

The pesky parasitic louse just might be invincible. It lives on birds and nearly every kind of mammal — even humans. In fact, lice have been our constant companions since the dawn of humanity. These wingless insects fall into 2 main groups: the suckers and the biters.

Discover how the stealthy louse has shaped history — and holds clues to human evolution.

NOVA/PBS
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Jail Louse Rock

Jail Louse Rock

Don’t let those nits hatch. Earn points by hauling them to the comb “jail” as fast as you can. More...

Game
HeadLice.org
Dinosaurs Likely Lousy with Lice

Dinosaurs Likely Lousy with Lice

Scientists speculate that lice became parasitic after animals with feathers or fur appeared. Feathered dinosaurs may have been the first hosts for lice. Find out why. More...

Article
LiveScience
Head Lice Slideshow

Head Lice Slideshow

Only about the size of a sesame seed, head lice can be hard to find. Their eggs, called nits, are even tinier. Check out these photos and get tips on spotting and banishing these critters. More...

Images
WebMD
I Didn’t Know That: Head Lice

I Didn’t Know That: Head Lice

There are about 400 kinds of head lice. One species can grow 11 mm in length — ick! Learn more and get an uncomfortably close-up look at these pests. More...

Video
National Geographic
Lousy Science

Lousy Science

Australia may be the head lice capital of the world. Find out how Dr. Vern Bowles plans to change that with a new kind of lice treatment. More...

Profile
The Monthly
Nit Fit

Nit Fit

Take a hair-raising journey as a head louse. Answer questions about hair and head lice as you race across a human scalp. More...

Interactive
Natural History Museum
Of Lice and Men: An Itchy History

Of Lice and Men: An Itchy History

Lice have been haunting humans and our ancestors for millennia. Discover how the minuscule louse spread deadly disease and shaped history. More...

Article
Scientific American
Parasites: Lice

Parasites: Lice

Learn about the 3 kinds of lice that live on human blood: their biology, which part of the body they live on, and which one carries disease. And find out how to prevent and treat infestation. More...

Article
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Phthiraptera

Phthiraptera

More than 3,000 species of parasitic lice belong to the order Phthiraptera. Explore the 4 main groups, discover which hosts they prefer, and see photos of these wingless insects. More...

Article
Tree of Life Web Project

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