Re: Waking up covered in dew

Phillip Bigelow (
Sat, 24 Aug 1996 13:54:12 -0700

Mark Brian Muller wrote:
> Paul Crowley wrote:
> >
> > The point is that at some point hominids began using animal skins
> > as clothing and/or covering at night. From then on they did not
> > need to re-grow their hair (although my own Celtic ancestors made
> > a pretty good attempt). So _prior_to_the_adoption_of_"clothing"_
> > there must have a long period ( >100 Kyr) of pure nakedness.
> Why does there have to be a "gap" between the loss of hairiness and
> the adoption of clothing and/or blankets? Why couldn't hominids only
> become hairless as the began to use blankets at night, or, similarly,
> they began to use blankets as they lost their hair?
> Mark Muller University of Texas at Austin
> Dept of Aerospace Engr and Engr Mech

Indeed. Why "must" their have been a long period (>100 Kyr) of pure
Again, Paul misses the mark when he discusses selection pressures.
Adaptation through morphological change can (and probably "usually")
overlaps in time with the presures that cause the change.
Hominid clothing could have begun as a covering in
northern latitudes, or as cammoflage during hunting (as Zulu tribesman
used to do; they hunted on the African plains wearing gemsbock hide and
a gemsbock head draped over their head), or as a "display" for sexual
selection (possibly to reflect of the economic resources of the mate).
We will probably never know the REASONS why hominids first wore clothing,
but when clothing became established (particularly in the northern
latitudes in Asia and Europe), the need for a thick coating of hair
became even less important than it was prior. Also, being able to "layer"
or "un-layer" one's own insulation to meet the specific needs of the
ambient air temps. makes for one huge selection advantage (particularly
if one has a large brain which both generates a lot of heat, and needs a
lot of heat).
In terms of evolutionary pressure, a so-called "gap" in time between
pressure X and resultant morphology Y shouldn't exist. If a "gap"
in time exists, then it could be argued that said morphology has
nothing to do with the selection presssure in question.