Re: thermoregulation in hominids

Susan S. Chin (
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 06:26:12 GMT

Newington Reference Library ( wrote:
: Thermoregulation in Hominids
: by Andrew Lewis

: Is it just me or does anyone else have a problem with the application of
: Allen€s rule to hominids? The rule states that mammals adapt to the
: temperature of their environment through variations in limb length.
: Longer limbs give the body a larger surface area from which heat can be
: dissipated more rapidly.

: I don€t know if this works with most mammals but when it is applied to
: hominids it does not seem to make any sense. However, the rule seems to
: be accepted by most anthropologists.

The unfortunate part about Allen's Rule is that it is called a "rule." In
reality, this correlation between geographical adaptations and limb
proportions is a generalization of a trend as a result of natural
selection. However, temperature regulation is only one of many adaptive
pressures on evolving hominid populations. Therefore, you won't find one
to one correlations between climatic adaptations and body proportions.

In other words, don't sweat the details.