Why There’s No Hair on Our Bodies Any Longer

Date: 2020-01-07 17:00:09


Australopithecines are believed to be our direct ancestors. They are primates, like us, but this far in the past they look nothing like humans: they’re short, with more prominent foreheads, flat faces, and … completely covered with hair.

Humanlike apes were still hairy, though, but in about half a million years, the upright-walking primates have finally lost some of their hair. Not all of it, but that’s a start! Why’s that? Let’s figure out!

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Australopithecines 0:58
Humanlike apes 1:22
When and why primates lost some of their hair 2:52
These guys resemble us a lot 4:06
Why we don’t have hair on our palms 6:44
And what about our heads? 8:01
‘Hello’ from the distant past 8:25

#hair #humanbody #brightside

– Australopithecines lived in the trees, like many modern primates do, but what distinguished them from everyone else was that they learned to stand and walk upright.
– Forests have given way to expanding savannahs, and living off the trees has become harder. To find leaves and fruit, they had to cover bigger and bigger flatland areas, so in the end they decided it just wasn’t worth it and found new food sources on the groundю
– Another leap of half a million years and finally, the upright-walking primates have lost some of their hair.
– That’s why, according to the most popular theory, the hominins started getting rid of their body hair: they needed open skin to sweat.
– Let’s jump ahead a bit more — say, a million years further. And here we have hominins that have already lost their hair so much that they resemble modern humans a lot.
– Other mammals, including primates, did not lose their hair and fur, so hominids must’ve had some pretty good reasons.
– Sweating helps them keep their stride for a long time. And they’re the only bipedal hunters who can follow their prey for hours on end, until it falls from exhaustion, leaving itself to the mercy of its stalker.
– And one more thing that this general hair loss doesn’t seem to explain is why humans still have so much hair on their heads but not, say, on their palms or soles of their feet.
– Hairs would slip and you’d simply drop the bar, however hard you may try.
– One of the theories says that we’ve retained thick hair on our heads because of our upright position: when we stand, the most exposed to the sun is exactly the head, and the layer of hair helps protect the skin and brain from its heat.
– Some humans have kept more genetic material from their ancestors than others. According to one version, we’re now moving to a time when men and women will be mostly similar in size and looks.
– And there’s even a genetic anomaly that’s called hypertrichosis, which is believed to be a ‘hello’ to us from the distant past, when humans were still hairy all over.

Music by Epidemic Sound

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