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Author Topic: Why did we evolve to have very long hair on our heads?  (Read 6024 times)

@NickDay2

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@NickDay2 asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Why did we evolve to have very long hair on our heads, when other (otherwise hairy) apes did not?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 02/06/2011 14:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline CliffordK

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Why did we evolve to have very long hair on our heads?
« Reply #1 on: 02/06/2011 16:47:07 »
I would have to think that the hair on one's head (top of the head and beard) evolved for aesthetic reasons. 

One's hair isn't a particularly good insulator and the longer hair covers very little of the body.  Even beards only develop in adult males.

I can imagine that prehistoric grooming would have been a pain, but perhaps that was even part of the mating rituals.
 

Offline Geezer

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Why did we evolve to have very long hair on our heads?
« Reply #2 on: 02/06/2011 18:38:09 »
Humans developed long hair as they moved into wetter regions of the planet. Hair is quite good at dissipating moisture back into the atmosphere. Cowboys use the same trick by putting leather fringes on the sleeves of their jackets to wick away moisture.

(The bit about the cowboys is true, but the bit about hair is probably total rubbish. I thought it sounded reasonably convincing though ;D
 

Offline RD

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Why did we evolve to have very long hair on our heads?
« Reply #3 on: 02/06/2011 19:12:18 »
Humans developed long hair as they moved into wetter regions of the planet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_ape_hypothesis ?
 

Offline grizelda

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Why did we evolve to have very long hair on our heads?
« Reply #4 on: 02/06/2011 23:16:32 »
Having long kinky hair protects you from the sun when it is overhead, as in a jungle.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Why did we evolve to have very long hair on our heads?
« Reply #5 on: 03/06/2011 05:30:23 »
A full head of short hair should protect from sunlight as well as long hair.

And, short hair should dry out a heck of a lot quicker than long hair after a shower, or when exiting from the water.



I still like the idea of aesthetic/status symbol.  Just like many birds grow unique head feathers.

www. itsnature .org/ground/birds-land/east-african-crowned-crane/


Looking at primate photos, there are many different hair styles, some of which involve longer hair on the head than other parts of the body.

http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/pets/galleries/whos_the_cutest_in_the_animal_kingdom/whos_the_cutest_in_the_animal_kingdom.html


Most animals use hair as part of their body temperature regulation.  As humans evolved to regulate their body temperature with clothing, the requirements of hair became different.  In particular, we lost the need of fall hair growth and spring shedding which might also enable the growth of longer hair.
 

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Why did we evolve to have very long hair on our heads?
« Reply #5 on: 03/06/2011 05:30:23 »

 

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