Sunday, March 29, 2009

EARWAX.

After bathing three children, I go through a sort of grooming routine that amazes my husband. Each child needs to have their nails clipped (all 60 of them!), hair brushed, teeth brushed, and ears cleaned.
So earwax is pretty much a standard thing around the house. (More on Q-tip consumption later...)
And what else is a standard thing around this house? Me watching crazy science TV shows and picking up tiny pieces of odd knowledge.
Which brings me to today's topic: Human Evolution and Earwax.
I love this. Talk about a good conversation topic. Impress all of your friends with this potential worthless knowledge over lunch tomorrow, and they'll never look at you the same way again.
In 2006, Japanese researchers found that the 2 types of earwax, wet and dry (who knew?), can be traced back to a single switch in human DNA. This switch apparently happened during the dawn of human evolution and the people with wet earwax went one way and the ones with dry earwax went the other way.
I'll pause while everyone sticks their fingers in their ears and tries to pull out a chunk and figure out what type they have...
According to the study, 97% of the people that live or come from Africa or Europe have wet earwax, while people from eastern cultures have dry earwax.
The study goes on to say that Native Americans, although considered "western" have dry earwax, which further proves their origins of coming across the Bering Strait, bringing their mukluks and their dry earwax right over here.
Are you really interested in bodily excrement? There's also a correlation between earwax and armpit sweat! (See? This is GREAT conversation fodder!) The Japanese scientists further found that people with dry earwax, like those of Asian descent, often sweat less, therefore having less body odor.
Conversely, those of us with wet earwax are stinky.

Think I'm making all this up? Google it. While I watched this on the National Geographic channel, there's also an article from the NY Times online.

Now go wash your hands. No body likes earwax on their computer.

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