If you were in a room with 100 other people in Britain, it’s likely one of you will have a tiny little hole above your ear.
If you haven’t come across them before, they’re called preauricular sinuses. And while they’re a completely normal thing to have, not many people know why they exist.
In the UK, just under one per cent of people have them. In the U.S., the frequency is even lower, and in Asia and parts of Africa, around four to ten per cent of people may have them, the Mirror reports.
Preauricular Sinus. A blessing or a curse? I'm afraid I have this. :( pic.twitter.com/00HSr1uE3R
— Kiara Sapinoso (@kiarasapinoso) December 31, 2013
Simply put, the little holes are ‘nodules, dents, or dimples’ that are exposed anywhere around the external ear – usually where the face and cartilage meet.
The preauricular sinus is a hereditary birth defect that was first documented by a scientist called Van Heusinger in 1864, and while they’re usually only found on one ear, up to 50 per cent of people have them on both.
The cause isn’t known but Business Insider reported that evolutionary biologist, Neil Shubin, theorised they could be an ‘evolutionary remnant of fish gills’ – which is pretty fucking cool.
If you’re part of the small percentage of people who happen to have these tiny fish gill-like holes, don’t worry – they’re harmless. And no, you can’t breathe underwater if you have them. The only complication that may occur is the odd infection which is easily treatable with antibiotics.
The more you know.