Alex Duncan (aduncan@mail.utexas.edu)
2 Nov 1995 00:25:27 GMT

In article <477v5p$qs@longwood.cs.ucf.edu> Tom Clarke,
clarke@longwood.cs.ucf.edu writes:

>Every seems to be ignoring my chill fluid suggestion. But then
>I haven't written a book that everyone loves to hate:-) I still
>think there is enough correlation between the size and extent of
>the deposits and exposure to chilling fluid in the absence of hair
>or fur, that a period of such exposure can be inferred for hominids.

There are several problems with this. We've already noted that all
primates (probably all mammals) have subcutaneous fat, and that humans
are not unique for this feature. The apparent human uniqueness is the
large quantities we develop, but this feature looses its uniqueness when
we examine domesticated or captive animals.

The second major problem is the distribution of fat over the human body.
It tends to be concentrated over regions (abdomen in males, upper thighs
& buttocks in females) that are not the most subject to rapid heat loss.
Because of their shapes, the distal limb elements are the most subject to
rapid heat loss in an aquatic environment, and these are the parts of the
body where we see the LEAST subcutaneous fat. In fact, skin over the
forearms and shins (dorsal surfaces of feet and hands too) is paper thin.

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086