Re: Why is Homo sapiens hairless?

Doug McKean (
Tue, 05 Nov 1996 11:12:03 -0500

T&B Schmal wrote:
> I don't know the answer for hairlessness but here is a possibly different
> approach. Look at the environment of the new biped - what are the other
> animals in it wearing? The lions, the zebras, the baboons. Hair. Why?
> Follow with me on this. Why don't these animals just wear skin and forget
> the hair. What is it that hair has that gives them the survival edge? If
> we can answer that question, then maybe it will be evident why man does
> not need all that much hair.
> So what are the plusses of hair?
> Tom Schmal

Well, a long time ago I learned from hunters that snow
stayed unmelted for hours on the backs of deer here
in the Northeast after a snowstorm. The insulative
properties of hair must be high. At least 'dense' hair.
I don't know what 'dense' could mean.

Could it be that hair insulates internal organs from cold AND hot climates?
Could it be that white fur of polar bears and owls of the North
don't have anything to do with natural selection but more of
an adaptation with the heat reflective properties (black body radiation)
of a white body causing further heat retention?

And, when wet with water, capillary action among the hairs draws water
off the surface of the skin to the extremities of the fur where
loss of heat through evaporation occurs away from the skin?

Doug McKean
The comments and opinions stated herein are mine alone,
and do not reflect those of my employer.