Re: A Hairy Question

Wed, 24 May 1995 17:03:12 GMT

On how humans got their hair (a just-so story):

It seems to me our sparse body hair is an adaption to (or allowed by) the use
of fire and the wearing of clothes. I don't see that bipedalism has anything
to do with it--kangaroos have fur.

I suppose our ever-growing head hair had to come after the use of tools,
since the hair will become a great disability without the means to cut it
short or tie it back.

On this view, maybe H. erectus was the first hominid without fur.

As to why we should have hair growing on our heads, rather than just retaining
fur for protection of areas not conveneiently clothed, I have no story that
seems convincing to me. Maybe the change tagged along with the loss of body
hair, for obscure biochemical reasons.

Roger Burk