A very small percentage of people are born with tiny, barely visible holes above their ears.
They’re not strange fish people, or aliens. Rather, they’re a tiny segment of the population who are born with something called a preauricular sinus.
In the UK, just under one per cent of people have them. In the US, the frequency is lower, and in Asia and parts of Africa, around four to ten per cent of people may be affected.
Simply put, the malformations are ‘nodules, dents, or dimples’ that are exposed anywhere around the external ear – specifically, where the ‘face’ and the ear cartilage meet.
The preauricular sinus is, technically, a hereditary birth defect that was first documented by a scientist called Van Heusinger in 1864. Usually they’re found on one side, but up to 50 per cent of people have them on both.
According to Business Insider, one evolutionary biologist, Neil Shubin, says the holes could be an “evolutionary remnant of fish gills.”
But if you are part of the one per cent, there’s not usually anything to worry about. They might be linked to other things, but don’t tend to cause problems. The most likely issue is for the holes to become infected, something that can be easily treated with antibiotics. However, occasionally surgery is required to remove the sinus.
So there we have it – the preauricular sinus is basically just a pre-made piercing (although you definitely should not put jewellery in one).