This is Why Some People Have Tiny Holes Above Their Ears

By: | December 16th, 2016

Image courtesy Wikimedia commons

You might have noticed that some people have tiny holes above their ears. In Ethiopia, people believe this hole brings luck and wealth to their owners. But the fact is that it is a hereditary birth defect, meaning it can be passed down from parents to their children

As per a study, 0.1 % of the US population and 0.9 % of the UK population have these holes. However, it is much more common in Asia and Africa.

They’re harmless, but why do some of us have them and others don’t?

This tiny extra hole on the ear is actually a congenital disorder called preauricular sinus. These holes appear during early fetal development and are normally hereditary. They are normally harmless, but at times they are susceptible to infection.

This formation is found in all vertebrates, and it arises during embryonic development. Evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin believes that this tiny hole is a throwback to when our ancestors were first coming out of the water. According to him, they are an “evolutionary remnant of fish gills” which is pretty amazing if you think about it.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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