May 16, 2012

Why We Lack Hair On our Body?

I just learned that the lack of hair on our body compared to other apes is not because we needed sweat effectively (and thus outrun prey in mid day), not because of our aquatic lifestyle, not even because of sexual selection or a couple of other theories, but most likely because of neoteny, also called juvenilization.

In short being able to learn and becoming smart was the strongest selection pressure in human evolution and since the young can learn better our body design gradually extended the young age over time. Since most mammalian fetuses are hairless, losing body hair was just a side-effect of neoteny.

We’re basically ape fetuses with grossly extended childhoods. 🙂

On the picture that’s Ashes, the hairless chimp from India.

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