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Eyes on the Depths
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The Buzz about Caffeine
Batteries built by Viruses
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Ancient Heights
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Little Bits of Trouble
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Finding the Past
Decoding a Beverage Jar
A Long Haul
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Electric Ray
Food and Nutrition
Food for Life
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Adjectives and Adverbs
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GSAT Scholarship
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Human Body
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Heavy Sleep
Dust Mites
Grizzly Bear
Children and Media
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Gaining a Swift Lift
Extra Strings for New Sounds
Thinner Air, Less Splatter
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Assembling the Tree of Life
When Fungi and Algae Marry
Box Turtles
Space and Astronomy
Big Galaxy Swallows Little Galaxy
Planning for Mars
The two faces of Mars
Technology and Engineering
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Space Umbrellas to Shield Earth
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Revving Up Green Machines
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Of Lice and Old Clothes

Scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch. Head lice can be a real pain, and they can keep you out of school until you get them out of your hair. Now, it appears that head lice and their cousins, body lice, might help solve a longstanding mystery: When did people start wearing clothes? Was it half a million years ago, or was it perhaps only in the last 30,000 years? Scientists in Germany think they've found an answer by looking at the history of human lice, those tiny critters that make us all cringe and grab the medicated shampoo. Head lice dwell among the hairs on your head, and they like to feast on the tiny flakes of dead skin on your scalp. Body lice, however, live on your clothes and eat dead skin on the rest of your body. So, to have body lice, you need to have clothes. The researchers say that, at one time, there were just head lice. Body lice diverged from head lice about 70,000 years ago, give or take 40,000 years. The appearance of body lice suggests that people started wearing clothes at roughly the same time. Not everyone agrees with this view, though. Some say that people living in northern Europe half a million years ago would have needed clothes to survive the cold weather. Other scientists say they aren't sure that head lice and body lice really are separate species. Whatever the case may be, it seems there's one sure cure for body lice: going around naked!S. McDonagh

Of Lice and Old Clothes
Of Lice and Old Clothes

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