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Why People Lost Their Fur

The need for ancient humans to keep cool during the day might explain their lack of body hair but not why they walked on two feet.

By | December 12, 2011

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS ,TKGD2007

Bipedalism didn’t evolve as a way for ancient humans to keep cool during the heat of the day, according to a new model published today (December 12) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But once hominins did start walking on two feet, it ignited another change that allowed them to stay cool—the loss of body hair. The new model explains why similarly sized mammals that walk on all fours and that may tend to overheat have not given up their coats.

“If you are already walking upright for other reasons it actually makes the advantage you get from losing hair bigger than if you were on four legs,” said David Wilkinson of John Moores University in Liverpool, who authored the study along with Graeme Ruxton of the University of Glasgow. “You are moving more of your body up above the ground and sweat evaporates more easily” than it can if you were on all fours, because more air will circulate around you, Wilkinson explained.

Wilkinson and Ruxton came to this conclusion after analyzing a mathematical model of body temperatures during activity at different times of the day for quadrupeds and bipeds with and without fur. The model is an update to a previous theory by Peter Wheeler also of John Moores University, who proposed that both hair loss and bipedalism were driven by our need to cool down. His theory was that switching from four to two feet would reduce the amount of an animal’s body in direct sun and thus increase its ability to stay cool.

But Wheeler left out a critical factor, Wilkinson said—animal movement. Stationary animals could just hang out in the shade during the peak of the day to avoid overheating, he noted, while activities such as foraging likely forced early humans into direct sunlight more often.

Taking movement into account, Wilkinson and Ruxton’s model predicted that modern human ancestors would generate much more body heat metabolically as they traveled and hunted than the sun could cause, suggesting that standing upright to avoid the sun, as Wheeler’s model proposed, would have done little to fight overheating.

“In Peter’s models, he had a nice thermal advantage to standing upright,” said Wilkinson, “but now that vanishes in our version of the model.”

Homo erectusFLICKR, FLOWCOMM

The new model further showed that four-legged creatures do not shed body heat as quickly when they lose their fur, suggesting that the loss of body hair would only have been a significant advantage to ancient humans if they were already walking on two feet. Thus, Wilkinson and Ruxton argue that bipedalism arose first—for some reason other than heat loss, such as improved observation of dangers, appearing larger to predators, or freeing the hands for tool use and carrying—then hair loss began, as a way to combat overheating.

The addition of animal movement to the model was key, said Sarah Elton of the Hull York Medical School, UK, who was not involved in the study. “In any environment you move between parts that are shaded and parts that are in open sun…. sometimes you are sheltered from the wind or not.”

But while Elton is generally in praise of the model, she pointed out that, “at the end of the day, it is just a model and models stand and fall on the type of evidence and also on the sensitivity of the model itself,” or the degree to which it is affected by variations in the assumed parameters, such as the climate, early humans’ movements, availability of shade, and so on. “There are other ideas” about why humans may have dropped their body fur, such as selective pressures imposed by the opposite sex, like a preference for hair-free mates.

Markus Rantala of the University of Turku, Finland, who was not convinced by Ruxton and Wilkinson’s model, offered another theory. “My personal opinion is that only selection caused by ectoparasites is able to explain the origin of human nakedness in a satisfactory way,” he said in an email. As humans began to live in fixed home bases and in close quarters, many parasites such as lice and fleas would have flourished. “As the ectoparasite burden on hominids increased, having fewer parasites may have become more important for survival than a warm fur coat,” Rantala said. Less body hair makes ectoparasites easier to spot and pick off.

Rantala also asks why, if the Ruxton-Wilkinson model is correct, did our ancestors not regain hair when they migrated to northern latitudes with cooler climates, about two million years ago. “Our skin color changed but we did not regain the hair,” he said. “There must have been other selective benefits to being naked than just thermoregulatory reasons.”

But by that time, humans may have gained other ways to keep warm, Wilkinson argued. “One possibility is that by the time humans were migrating they probably had fire and possibly clothing.” Although Wilkinson believes in the new model, he’s not surprised that there is some disagreement in the field. “Human evolution is an argumentative area of science,” he said. “ It always has been.”

G.D. Ruxton, D.M. Wilkinson, “Avoidance of overheating and selection for both hair loss and bipedality in hominins,” PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1113915108, 2011.

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Avatar of: glenn398

glenn398

Posts: 15

December 13, 2011

I think it is a waste of time studying why humans lost their hair. Even if we found out so what advancement would it have for modern humans. Even in Africa during some months the nights got cold.

Avatar of: vetury sitaramam

vetury sitaramam

Posts: 69

December 13, 2011

This 7th century sculpture at Mahabalipuram, Tamilnadu, India would suggest that ecoparasites were no less a preoccupation for the monkeys! http://www.flickr.com/photos/i...

Avatar of: Mark Riggle

Mark Riggle

Posts: 6

December 13, 2011

This is about the accompanying graphic that shows the gradual upright bipedal walk from chimp to modern humans -- it is not correct.  Ardi (Ardipithecus ramidus) shows that the last common ancestor of humans and chimps (LCA) was not chimp-like but rather more monkey-like.  Chimps cannot walk upright -- because of the lower spine fusion to the pelvis -- but monkeys can walk upright much like us. The transition from that LCA to fully upright did not occur in stages but rather suddenly.  It also occurred not in the savanna but in the forest; this means distance walking was not a factor.
The Ardi papers in Science were the most important paper of the last decade (or so according to Science).

December 13, 2011

I do some R&D on human thermoregulation (for commercial products), and comparison with animal models. One of the striking difference with animal models (pigs) is the fine and constant regulation of body temperature by humans, while pigs and rats body temperature varies widely (over 1.5 Celsius between animals and in same animal within 5min of stress or other activities). Another glaring issue is the lack of good animal models - human skin dominated thermoregulatory system is quite unique (pigs and *not* Apes are the most similar to us). Human naked skin thermoregulation is an active system based on controlling the peripheral blood flow (e.g., as visible in white people during physical activity). It is only functional in furless skin areas with particular fat insulation layer (another animal example is rats tails responsible for about 30% of rat thermoregulation). To the above scientific information, I add a layman observation that human cognitive functions become quite impaired by even slight fever (i.e., deviation from normal 37 Celsius). It leads me to think that the special human needs of big brain and reliance on high cognitive skills maintenance lead humans to need better thermoregulation capabilities. Therefore, I suggest the uniquely human naked skin blood flow thermoregulation system is the evolutionary solution to develop such fine thermoregulation capabilities. 

Avatar of: Jonathan Harton

Jonathan Harton

Posts: 4

December 13, 2011

I had heard that the increased need for temperature regulation to manage a "hotter" brain was a principle reason for loss of body hair.  Also, the number of hair follicles/cm2 between humans and chimps is nearly identical, but the proportion of primary (fur) follicles to secondary (sweat) follicles is almost exactly reversed.  As I understand the model in this paper, the ability of a hairless individual to shed heat is greater (and conversely to conserve heat when cool) which makes sense--so bipedalism has nothing to do with hair or the lack thereof.  This may be consistent with the emergence of bipedalism prior to hairlessness.  It would be interesting to see how factoring in the differences in sweat production capacity and brain size/complexity/thermal load would influence the model.  Also, did the change in brain size/complexity/thermal load largely preceed or follow bipedalism?  

Avatar of: Tony Guoliang Wang

Tony Guoliang Wang

Posts: 1457

December 13, 2011

first of all, this article made a big assumption that human beings had fur before. I am wondering what the solid evidence is for supporting this assumption or conclusion?

Avatar of: Rich Patrock

Rich Patrock

Posts: 1457

December 13, 2011

It isn't clear from the analysis described here whether the authors assumed that all mammals dispense the majority of their heat by sweat.  If the researched did, then there are major categorical problems with their sample sizes and conclusions.

Avatar of: EARTHMAN1

EARTHMAN1

Posts: 10

December 13, 2011

Balderdash.

Avatar of: Karl Simanonok

Karl Simanonok

Posts: 2

December 13, 2011

What a funny article.  Evolution proceeds through natural selection.  People are relatively hairless now compared to our ancestors for the same likely reason that male peacocks have their fancy tails.  It doesn't necessarily have to be for any practical purpose other than ability to score a mate. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

I think it is a waste of time studying why humans lost their hair. Even if we found out so what advancement would it have for modern humans. Even in Africa during some months the nights got cold.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

This 7th century sculpture at Mahabalipuram, Tamilnadu, India would suggest that ecoparasites were no less a preoccupation for the monkeys! http://www.flickr.com/photos/i...

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

This is about the accompanying graphic that shows the gradual upright bipedal walk from chimp to modern humans -- it is not correct.  Ardi (Ardipithecus ramidus) shows that the last common ancestor of humans and chimps (LCA) was not chimp-like but rather more monkey-like.  Chimps cannot walk upright -- because of the lower spine fusion to the pelvis -- but monkeys can walk upright much like us. The transition from that LCA to fully upright did not occur in stages but rather suddenly.  It also occurred not in the savanna but in the forest; this means distance walking was not a factor.
The Ardi papers in Science were the most important paper of the last decade (or so according to Science).

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

I do some R&D on human thermoregulation (for commercial products), and comparison with animal models. One of the striking difference with animal models (pigs) is the fine and constant regulation of body temperature by humans, while pigs and rats body temperature varies widely (over 1.5 Celsius between animals and in same animal within 5min of stress or other activities). Another glaring issue is the lack of good animal models - human skin dominated thermoregulatory system is quite unique (pigs and *not* Apes are the most similar to us). Human naked skin thermoregulation is an active system based on controlling the peripheral blood flow (e.g., as visible in white people during physical activity). It is only functional in furless skin areas with particular fat insulation layer (another animal example is rats tails responsible for about 30% of rat thermoregulation). To the above scientific information, I add a layman observation that human cognitive functions become quite impaired by even slight fever (i.e., deviation from normal 37 Celsius). It leads me to think that the special human needs of big brain and reliance on high cognitive skills maintenance lead humans to need better thermoregulation capabilities. Therefore, I suggest the uniquely human naked skin blood flow thermoregulation system is the evolutionary solution to develop such fine thermoregulation capabilities. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

I had heard that the increased need for temperature regulation to manage a "hotter" brain was a principle reason for loss of body hair.  Also, the number of hair follicles/cm2 between humans and chimps is nearly identical, but the proportion of primary (fur) follicles to secondary (sweat) follicles is almost exactly reversed.  As I understand the model in this paper, the ability of a hairless individual to shed heat is greater (and conversely to conserve heat when cool) which makes sense--so bipedalism has nothing to do with hair or the lack thereof.  This may be consistent with the emergence of bipedalism prior to hairlessness.  It would be interesting to see how factoring in the differences in sweat production capacity and brain size/complexity/thermal load would influence the model.  Also, did the change in brain size/complexity/thermal load largely preceed or follow bipedalism?  

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

first of all, this article made a big assumption that human beings had fur before. I am wondering what the solid evidence is for supporting this assumption or conclusion?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

It isn't clear from the analysis described here whether the authors assumed that all mammals dispense the majority of their heat by sweat.  If the researched did, then there are major categorical problems with their sample sizes and conclusions.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

Balderdash.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

What a funny article.  Evolution proceeds through natural selection.  People are relatively hairless now compared to our ancestors for the same likely reason that male peacocks have their fancy tails.  It doesn't necessarily have to be for any practical purpose other than ability to score a mate. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

I think it is a waste of time studying why humans lost their hair. Even if we found out so what advancement would it have for modern humans. Even in Africa during some months the nights got cold.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

This 7th century sculpture at Mahabalipuram, Tamilnadu, India would suggest that ecoparasites were no less a preoccupation for the monkeys! http://www.flickr.com/photos/i...

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

This is about the accompanying graphic that shows the gradual upright bipedal walk from chimp to modern humans -- it is not correct.  Ardi (Ardipithecus ramidus) shows that the last common ancestor of humans and chimps (LCA) was not chimp-like but rather more monkey-like.  Chimps cannot walk upright -- because of the lower spine fusion to the pelvis -- but monkeys can walk upright much like us. The transition from that LCA to fully upright did not occur in stages but rather suddenly.  It also occurred not in the savanna but in the forest; this means distance walking was not a factor.
The Ardi papers in Science were the most important paper of the last decade (or so according to Science).

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

I do some R&D on human thermoregulation (for commercial products), and comparison with animal models. One of the striking difference with animal models (pigs) is the fine and constant regulation of body temperature by humans, while pigs and rats body temperature varies widely (over 1.5 Celsius between animals and in same animal within 5min of stress or other activities). Another glaring issue is the lack of good animal models - human skin dominated thermoregulatory system is quite unique (pigs and *not* Apes are the most similar to us). Human naked skin thermoregulation is an active system based on controlling the peripheral blood flow (e.g., as visible in white people during physical activity). It is only functional in furless skin areas with particular fat insulation layer (another animal example is rats tails responsible for about 30% of rat thermoregulation). To the above scientific information, I add a layman observation that human cognitive functions become quite impaired by even slight fever (i.e., deviation from normal 37 Celsius). It leads me to think that the special human needs of big brain and reliance on high cognitive skills maintenance lead humans to need better thermoregulation capabilities. Therefore, I suggest the uniquely human naked skin blood flow thermoregulation system is the evolutionary solution to develop such fine thermoregulation capabilities. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

I had heard that the increased need for temperature regulation to manage a "hotter" brain was a principle reason for loss of body hair.  Also, the number of hair follicles/cm2 between humans and chimps is nearly identical, but the proportion of primary (fur) follicles to secondary (sweat) follicles is almost exactly reversed.  As I understand the model in this paper, the ability of a hairless individual to shed heat is greater (and conversely to conserve heat when cool) which makes sense--so bipedalism has nothing to do with hair or the lack thereof.  This may be consistent with the emergence of bipedalism prior to hairlessness.  It would be interesting to see how factoring in the differences in sweat production capacity and brain size/complexity/thermal load would influence the model.  Also, did the change in brain size/complexity/thermal load largely preceed or follow bipedalism?  

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

first of all, this article made a big assumption that human beings had fur before. I am wondering what the solid evidence is for supporting this assumption or conclusion?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

It isn't clear from the analysis described here whether the authors assumed that all mammals dispense the majority of their heat by sweat.  If the researched did, then there are major categorical problems with their sample sizes and conclusions.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

Balderdash.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 13, 2011

What a funny article.  Evolution proceeds through natural selection.  People are relatively hairless now compared to our ancestors for the same likely reason that male peacocks have their fancy tails.  It doesn't necessarily have to be for any practical purpose other than ability to score a mate. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 14, 2011

This study seems to ignore the radically different structure of fur in animals with hide versus the subdermal, dermal and epidermal human anatomy and physiology.  You can have plenty of hair and still have no fur (e.g. human head). The human fascia is much thinner than animal fascia and fat layers beneath animal fur covered hides are thicker. Temperature control mechanisms in animals with fur involving panting make a side by side thermoregulatory comparison prone to erroneous conclusions.

Also mathematical models of thermoregulation need to be backed up by actual IR filming during various exercise modes so that there is hard science to back up the model. Was this done? If not, the mathematical model could be about as accurate as the NIST's mathematical models on the WTC collapse. Mathematical models can be like trained seals if they are set up improperly (i.e. they confirm your faulty hypothesis).

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 14, 2011

Wouldn't this reasoning predict naked Giraffes?
They stand very high, live in hot climates and must forage and move, being so large.  
On the other hand, the same arguments apply to elephants which ARE naked.  
Why are elephants and people naked, but not Giraffes?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 14, 2011

This is all rampant speculation -- and if I were to speculate, I'd go a different direction.  The Okavango Delta is known for its bipedal baboons and Lechwe antelopes with specialized foot adaptations.  It has huge transitions between being largely submerged and arid each year.  I've seen nature videos where animals can be trapped in mud pits as the land dries, utterly unable to escape or defend themselves.  From a few thousand miles away, it looks like a person could enter such a pit, do as he wished with the trapped animal, and escape alive.  I'm not sure how well that would work with thick fur though - and so I'm guessing we lost it to help us maneuver.  Of course, this is the hoary old "aquatic ape hypothesis", except the water is not very deep and often mucky.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 14, 2011

This study seems to ignore the radically different structure of fur in animals with hide versus the subdermal, dermal and epidermal human anatomy and physiology.  You can have plenty of hair and still have no fur (e.g. human head). The human fascia is much thinner than animal fascia and fat layers beneath animal fur covered hides are thicker. Temperature control mechanisms in animals with fur involving panting make a side by side thermoregulatory comparison prone to erroneous conclusions.

Also mathematical models of thermoregulation need to be backed up by actual IR filming during various exercise modes so that there is hard science to back up the model. Was this done? If not, the mathematical model could be about as accurate as the NIST's mathematical models on the WTC collapse. Mathematical models can be like trained seals if they are set up improperly (i.e. they confirm your faulty hypothesis).

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 14, 2011

Wouldn't this reasoning predict naked Giraffes?
They stand very high, live in hot climates and must forage and move, being so large.  
On the other hand, the same arguments apply to elephants which ARE naked.  
Why are elephants and people naked, but not Giraffes?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 14, 2011

This is all rampant speculation -- and if I were to speculate, I'd go a different direction.  The Okavango Delta is known for its bipedal baboons and Lechwe antelopes with specialized foot adaptations.  It has huge transitions between being largely submerged and arid each year.  I've seen nature videos where animals can be trapped in mud pits as the land dries, utterly unable to escape or defend themselves.  From a few thousand miles away, it looks like a person could enter such a pit, do as he wished with the trapped animal, and escape alive.  I'm not sure how well that would work with thick fur though - and so I'm guessing we lost it to help us maneuver.  Of course, this is the hoary old "aquatic ape hypothesis", except the water is not very deep and often mucky.

Avatar of: agelbert

agelbert

Posts: 50

December 14, 2011

This study seems to ignore the radically different structure of fur in animals with hide versus the subdermal, dermal and epidermal human anatomy and physiology.  You can have plenty of hair and still have no fur (e.g. human head). The human fascia is much thinner than animal fascia and fat layers beneath animal fur covered hides are thicker. Temperature control mechanisms in animals with fur involving panting make a side by side thermoregulatory comparison prone to erroneous conclusions.

Also mathematical models of thermoregulation need to be backed up by actual IR filming during various exercise modes so that there is hard science to back up the model. Was this done? If not, the mathematical model could be about as accurate as the NIST's mathematical models on the WTC collapse. Mathematical models can be like trained seals if they are set up improperly (i.e. they confirm your faulty hypothesis).

Avatar of: david.harrison

david.harrison

Posts: 28

December 14, 2011

Wouldn't this reasoning predict naked Giraffes?
They stand very high, live in hot climates and must forage and move, being so large.  
On the other hand, the same arguments apply to elephants which ARE naked.  
Why are elephants and people naked, but not Giraffes?

Avatar of: Wnt

Wnt

Posts: 1457

December 14, 2011

This is all rampant speculation -- and if I were to speculate, I'd go a different direction.  The Okavango Delta is known for its bipedal baboons and Lechwe antelopes with specialized foot adaptations.  It has huge transitions between being largely submerged and arid each year.  I've seen nature videos where animals can be trapped in mud pits as the land dries, utterly unable to escape or defend themselves.  From a few thousand miles away, it looks like a person could enter such a pit, do as he wished with the trapped animal, and escape alive.  I'm not sure how well that would work with thick fur though - and so I'm guessing we lost it to help us maneuver.  Of course, this is the hoary old "aquatic ape hypothesis", except the water is not very deep and often mucky.

Avatar of: viktor belousov

viktor belousov

Posts: 12

December 15, 2011

The evolution of sweat glands, was the cause of hair loss. The sweat glands secrete not only moisture but also secrete salt.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 15, 2011

The evolution of sweat glands, was the cause of hair loss. The sweat glands secrete not only moisture but also secrete salt.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 15, 2011

The evolution of sweat glands, was the cause of hair loss. The sweat glands secrete not only moisture but also secrete salt.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 21, 2011

This again is not a complete picture of the possible adaptation route to our bipedalism and fur less skin. Take into account our subcutaneous fat as isolation against cold circumstances (water) and more sebum (skin fat) that makes MORE perspiration necessary.  And then: the pigmentation of Homo spec. is very dark. Heating up in the sun happens fast.
Fit all this together please and rethink it.

http://www.shoreline-man.name/...

Bipedal pre humans where not open space walkers. The "savannah" option is no longer accepted. The fastest spreading of "us" H. sapiens was along coasts, rivers and even the seas. Most of us are always near water.

1. Bipedal adaptation => forced semi aquatic  way of moving around. Why "forced" ?
2. Subcutaneous fat and sebum => idem ditto
3. Hair loss => again id (try the wet T-shirt temperature aspects yourself)
4. A very pigmented skin  in (sub) tropical ecosystems is needed when "naked".

http://www.andaman.org/

Sir Alister Hardy was not as wrong or idiot as most of us scientists think he was.

Dirk Meijers MSc

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 21, 2011

This again is not a complete picture of the possible adaptation route to our bipedalism and fur less skin. Take into account our subcutaneous fat as isolation against cold circumstances (water) and more sebum (skin fat) that makes MORE perspiration necessary.  And then: the pigmentation of Homo spec. is very dark. Heating up in the sun happens fast.
Fit all this together please and rethink it.

http://www.shoreline-man.name/...

Bipedal pre humans where not open space walkers. The "savannah" option is no longer accepted. The fastest spreading of "us" H. sapiens was along coasts, rivers and even the seas. Most of us are always near water.

1. Bipedal adaptation => forced semi aquatic  way of moving around. Why "forced" ?
2. Subcutaneous fat and sebum => idem ditto
3. Hair loss => again id (try the wet T-shirt temperature aspects yourself)
4. A very pigmented skin  in (sub) tropical ecosystems is needed when "naked".

http://www.andaman.org/

Sir Alister Hardy was not as wrong or idiot as most of us scientists think he was.

Dirk Meijers MSc

December 21, 2011

This again is not a complete picture of the possible adaptation route to our bipedalism and fur less skin. Take into account our subcutaneous fat as isolation against cold circumstances (water) and more sebum (skin fat) that makes MORE perspiration necessary.  And then: the pigmentation of Homo spec. is very dark. Heating up in the sun happens fast.
Fit all this together please and rethink it.

http://www.shoreline-man.name/...

Bipedal pre humans where not open space walkers. The "savannah" option is no longer accepted. The fastest spreading of "us" H. sapiens was along coasts, rivers and even the seas. Most of us are always near water.

1. Bipedal adaptation => forced semi aquatic  way of moving around. Why "forced" ?
2. Subcutaneous fat and sebum => idem ditto
3. Hair loss => again id (try the wet T-shirt temperature aspects yourself)
4. A very pigmented skin  in (sub) tropical ecosystems is needed when "naked".

http://www.andaman.org/

Sir Alister Hardy was not as wrong or idiot as most of us scientists think he was.

Dirk Meijers MSc

Avatar of: puzjig

puzjig

Posts: 1

December 23, 2011

I do get fed up with the way scientists studiously avoid ever even discussing the Aquatic Ape hypothesis.  It's considered professional suicide it seems to even mention it, yet there are many suggestive features of human anatomy that support the idea.  The main reason it's avoided is that its chief proponent has been Elaine Morgan, who was not trained as a scientist.  Her books on the subject have been increasingly persuasive over the years and I think the hypothesis (and she calls it that - not even gracing it with the word "theory") at least deserves a glance.  David Attenburgh made two very supportive radio programmes about it a few years ago.  Frankly, I think it's plain silly of scientists to "look the other way" every time it comes up.  

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 23, 2011

I do get fed up with the way scientists studiously avoid ever even discussing the Aquatic Ape hypothesis.  It's considered professional suicide it seems to even mention it, yet there are many suggestive features of human anatomy that support the idea.  The main reason it's avoided is that its chief proponent has been Elaine Morgan, who was not trained as a scientist.  Her books on the subject have been increasingly persuasive over the years and I think the hypothesis (and she calls it that - not even gracing it with the word "theory") at least deserves a glance.  David Attenburgh made two very supportive radio programmes about it a few years ago.  Frankly, I think it's plain silly of scientists to "look the other way" every time it comes up.  

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 23, 2011

I do get fed up with the way scientists studiously avoid ever even discussing the Aquatic Ape hypothesis.  It's considered professional suicide it seems to even mention it, yet there are many suggestive features of human anatomy that support the idea.  The main reason it's avoided is that its chief proponent has been Elaine Morgan, who was not trained as a scientist.  Her books on the subject have been increasingly persuasive over the years and I think the hypothesis (and she calls it that - not even gracing it with the word "theory") at least deserves a glance.  David Attenburgh made two very supportive radio programmes about it a few years ago.  Frankly, I think it's plain silly of scientists to "look the other way" every time it comes up.  

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

January 6, 2012

I always thought it was so creatures that preyed on us wouldn't have to peel us before eating.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

January 6, 2012

I always thought it was so creatures that preyed on us wouldn't have to peel us before eating.

Avatar of: EARTHMAN1

EARTHMAN1

Posts: 10

January 6, 2012

I always thought it was so creatures that preyed on us wouldn't have to peel us before eating.

Avatar of: FromThisSeat.com

FromThisSeat.com

Posts: 2

January 9, 2012

Once again, an article based on theory rather than fact. Evolution negates God's creations. Why do Apes still have fur if we evolved and lost the fur? Wouldn't we all have evolved the same?
Unfortunately our generation reports primarily on theory and prediction.  90% of what you read in the newspapers in B.S.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

January 9, 2012

Once again, an article based on theory rather than fact. Evolution negates God's creations. Why do Apes still have fur if we evolved and lost the fur? Wouldn't we all have evolved the same?
Unfortunately our generation reports primarily on theory and prediction.  90% of what you read in the newspapers in B.S.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

January 9, 2012

Once again, an article based on theory rather than fact. Evolution negates God's creations. Why do Apes still have fur if we evolved and lost the fur? Wouldn't we all have evolved the same?
Unfortunately our generation reports primarily on theory and prediction.  90% of what you read in the newspapers in B.S.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

January 10, 2012

Idle conjectures are a dime a dozen!

All the conjectures I've seen here so far are utterly nonsensical, because they ignore the obvious fact, which they cannot even begin to explain, that there is a conspicuous difference between hair-loss in men and women. Women, but not men, have lost the ability to grow facial hair!

JUst for the fun of it, let me now propose my own two-cents' worth conjecture. I propose that hair-loss followed the conspicuous reduction of size-difference (and therefore also strength-difference), between adult men and adult women, compared to the situation in all other higher apes. I have no idea what might be the adaptive value of that conspicuous reduction in size-difference, but it made it muc more difficult to distinguish between a mature woman of child bearibg age, and a mature man; especially from a distance. Women then evolved large protruding mammaries, which shrivel when they become old, but are very conspicuous in women of a child-bearing age, and makes it very easy to recognize such women even from a distance. Becoming hairless then made the protruding mammaries even more conspicuous,   providing women also lost the ability to grow thick long beards that would completely hide the mammaries.

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Posts: 0

January 10, 2012

Idle conjectures are a dime a dozen!

All the conjectures I've seen here so far are utterly nonsensical, because they ignore the obvious fact, which they cannot even begin to explain, that there is a conspicuous difference between hair-loss in men and women. Women, but not men, have lost the ability to grow facial hair!

JUst for the fun of it, let me now propose my own two-cents' worth conjecture. I propose that hair-loss followed the conspicuous reduction of size-difference (and therefore also strength-difference), between adult men and adult women, compared to the situation in all other higher apes. I have no idea what might be the adaptive value of that conspicuous reduction in size-difference, but it made it muc more difficult to distinguish between a mature woman of child bearibg age, and a mature man; especially from a distance. Women then evolved large protruding mammaries, which shrivel when they become old, but are very conspicuous in women of a child-bearing age, and makes it very easy to recognize such women even from a distance. Becoming hairless then made the protruding mammaries even more conspicuous,   providing women also lost the ability to grow thick long beards that would completely hide the mammaries.

Avatar of: rosinbio

rosinbio

Posts: 117

January 10, 2012

Idle conjectures are a dime a dozen!

All the conjectures I've seen here so far are utterly nonsensical, because they ignore the obvious fact, which they cannot even begin to explain, that there is a conspicuous difference between hair-loss in men and women. Women, but not men, have lost the ability to grow facial hair!

JUst for the fun of it, let me now propose my own two-cents' worth conjecture. I propose that hair-loss followed the conspicuous reduction of size-difference (and therefore also strength-difference), between adult men and adult women, compared to the situation in all other higher apes. I have no idea what might be the adaptive value of that conspicuous reduction in size-difference, but it made it muc more difficult to distinguish between a mature woman of child bearibg age, and a mature man; especially from a distance. Women then evolved large protruding mammaries, which shrivel when they become old, but are very conspicuous in women of a child-bearing age, and makes it very easy to recognize such women even from a distance. Becoming hairless then made the protruding mammaries even more conspicuous,   providing women also lost the ability to grow thick long beards that would completely hide the mammaries.

Avatar of: rosinbio

rosinbio

Posts: 117

January 11, 2012

P.S. (Adding to my original comment):

Also, humans evolved to the point where they are born at a much earlier developmntal stage than newborn in other higher apes, and will need a very long time to reach the stage where they can hold onto their mother's body on their own (even if she were hairy). A human mother must, therefore, hold her baby against the front of her chest. And to enable the baby to suckle, it must be able to find her teats, which it would hardly be able to do, if she grew a thick bushy beard that would cover her breasts; all the more so when humans evolved an erect gait in addition..

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Posts: 0

January 11, 2012

P.S. (Adding to my original comment):

Also, humans evolved to the point where they are born at a much earlier developmntal stage than newborn in other higher apes, and will need a very long time to reach the stage where they can hold onto their mother's body on their own (even if she were hairy). A human mother must, therefore, hold her baby against the front of her chest. And to enable the baby to suckle, it must be able to find her teats, which it would hardly be able to do, if she grew a thick bushy beard that would cover her breasts; all the more so when humans evolved an erect gait in addition..

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

January 11, 2012

P.S. (Adding to my original comment):

Also, humans evolved to the point where they are born at a much earlier developmntal stage than newborn in other higher apes, and will need a very long time to reach the stage where they can hold onto their mother's body on their own (even if she were hairy). A human mother must, therefore, hold her baby against the front of her chest. And to enable the baby to suckle, it must be able to find her teats, which it would hardly be able to do, if she grew a thick bushy beard that would cover her breasts; all the more so when humans evolved an erect gait in addition..

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Posts: 0

January 12, 2012

I'm glad Dirk Meijers has mentioned the aquatic ape theory, which seems to be the most logical explanation. It does require Lamarckian inheritance though, but that is gradually becoming accepted though not publicised.

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Posts: 0

January 12, 2012

When I saw the headline I immediately thought "fleas."  When our ancestors moved indoors they began to spend a lot of time in very close proximity to one another;  if ectoparasites weren't a threat, our tree-dwelling relatives wouldn't spend so much time grooming one another (and becoming much more socialized).

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Posts: 0

January 12, 2012

I'm glad Dirk Meijers has mentioned the aquatic ape theory, which seems to be the most logical explanation. It does require Lamarckian inheritance though, but that is gradually becoming accepted though not publicised.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

January 12, 2012

When I saw the headline I immediately thought "fleas."  When our ancestors moved indoors they began to spend a lot of time in very close proximity to one another;  if ectoparasites weren't a threat, our tree-dwelling relatives wouldn't spend so much time grooming one another (and becoming much more socialized).

Avatar of: hippyatheart

hippyatheart

Posts: 2

January 12, 2012

I'm glad Dirk Meijers has mentioned the aquatic ape theory, which seems to be the most logical explanation. It does require Lamarckian inheritance though, but that is gradually becoming accepted though not publicised.

Avatar of: Fatherwill

Fatherwill

Posts: 1

January 12, 2012

When I saw the headline I immediately thought "fleas."  When our ancestors moved indoors they began to spend a lot of time in very close proximity to one another;  if ectoparasites weren't a threat, our tree-dwelling relatives wouldn't spend so much time grooming one another (and becoming much more socialized).

Avatar of: Larry J VanStone

Larry J VanStone

Posts: 1

January 17, 2012

I wonder why nobody mentions the use of fire? A furry body is a clear detriment if you are using fire.

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Posts: 0

January 17, 2012

I wonder why nobody mentions the use of fire? A furry body is a clear detriment if you are using fire.

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Posts: 0

January 17, 2012

I wonder why nobody mentions the use of fire? A furry body is a clear detriment if you are using fire.

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Posts: 0

January 18, 2012

The strengthened allocation of sweat, detains growth of hair.

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Posts: 0

January 18, 2012

The strengthened allocation of sweat, detains growth of hair.

Avatar of: viktor

viktor

Posts: 1457

January 18, 2012

The strengthened allocation of sweat, detains growth of hair.

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