Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dry earwax? It's an Asian thing.

Via my friend Kate Muhl and the New York Times, I'm now aware that: 

  1. I'm apparently related to some guy who looks like Jesse Ventura pulling a racist Asian caricature-face, 
  2. My dry earwax is race-based, and
  3. I have EDAR. Which sounds as if it should be like gaydar, only for consumer electronics. A very Asian trait, I suppose. (It's actually a gene complex that codes for thick hair.)
NYT: Whole Genome of Ancient Human Is Decoded
The dry vs. wet earwax thing is interesting. Apparently, it was discovered back in 2006, and has been used extensively to map out migration patterns and stuff. According to LiveScience:

LiveScience: Is Your Earwax Wet or Dry?

Wet earwax is believed to have uses in insect trapping, self-cleaning, and prevention of dryness in the external auditory canal of the ear. It also produces an odor and causes sweating, which may play a role as a pheromone. The usefulness of dry earwax, however, is not well understood. Researchers believe it may have originated to prevent less odor and sweating, a possible adaptation to the cold climate that the population is believed to have lived in.

So, uh, primitive wet-earwax Africans and Caucasians used their ears to...trap insects? And maybe to attract mates pheromonically? Awesome

Note that the Times has been on this earwax thing since the beginning: 

NYT: Japanese Scientists Identify Ear Wax Gene

A nugget from that groundbreaking January 29, 2006 Times report:

Earwax type and armpit odor are correlated, since populations with dry earwax, such as those of East Asia, tend to sweat less and have little or no body odor, whereas the wet earwax populations of Africa and Europe sweat more and so may have greater body odor. Several Asian features, such as small nostrils and the fold of fat above the eyelid, are conjectured to be adaptations to the cold. Less sweating, the Japanese authors suggest, may be another adaptation to the cold climate in which the ancestors of East Asian peoples are thought to have lived.

It's all making me a lot happier about how this whole Asian body thing works. Less stank, check. Dry earwax, check. All good!

Posted via email from OriginalSpin


Blogger Kim said...

Actually the picture on this post is not an asian guy, but a drawing of the early eskimos in greenland.

5:58 PM  
Blogger ross said...

On the other hand, I've heard that Western bodies are more hairy by design to deal with lower temperatures and they have recessed eyes, pronounced foreheads and thicker eyebrows to deal with snow.

Oh, and an ability to trap insects in your ears is a pretty useless superpower!

7:14 AM  
Blogger javieth said...

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12:49 PM  
Blogger katty said...

I usually take care my hair because i consider we can project a good image specially when we have a meeting with our partner or when you need talking about some busines. Actually i am participatin in costa rica investment opportunities and i need to look very good.

3:30 PM  

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