Why Humans Lost Their Fur


Word Count

268 words

Reading Level

Listen to Article

One of the biggest unsolved puzzles in the evolution of mankind is why humans were the only primates to lose their 'fur'. Now, two researchers believe it's the same reason athletes shave off their hair - To become more efficient.

However, in the case of the ancient human it was not a vain attempt to win a gold medal, but a necessity, if they wanted to hunt for food. The theory, derived from advanced computer modeling has been proposed by Professor Wilkinson from Liverpool John Moores University and Professor Graeme Ruxton from the University of Glasgow.

The researchers maintain that the earliest upright humans whose bodies were covered with fur, largely walked or ran only for short distances - Maybe to the nearest tree, to escape a wild animal. That's because humans need to sweat in order to go fast for longer distances - Something that was impossible when their bodies were covered with fur.

As they started to become more proficient hunters and began running longer distances in the hot African Savannah to catch their prey, their bodies began to evolve too - Losing the fur slowly, but surely. A similar theory proposed by another scientist in the 1980's, could not be validated since computer models were not as sophisticated then.

The one thing the researchers cannot accurately predict however, is when we became smooth-skinned. While they estimate it was about 3 million years ago or a million years after we first began to walk upright, to get the exact date, they would have to find an ancient human buried under volcano ash - The only thing known to preserve hair!


Cite Article
Learn Keywords in this Article
  • b1ng0
    b1ng0about 2 years
    • animereina2021
      animereina2021over 2 years
      • Loolooabout 4 years
        I wouldn’t want to be covered with fur
        • Buzz light yearabout 4 years
          2 infinity and beyond
          • jeffalmost 5 years
            love the article
            • jayfeealmost 5 years
              its ok it could be longer
              • coolguyalmost 5 years
                I love the article!
                • ZooGeekabout 5 years
                  We didn't have razors back then, so we had more hair. If we had more hair back then, I wonder why we lost it. Did we come up with something to lose it, or was there some kind of thing out there that makes you lose hair. We still have head hair and lots more hair on our bodies. Maybe we needed hair on our head, but what passed on the gene of hair loss? We still have hair, just not as much as back then. I wonder if the hair we had changed the way we were, if we were as fit, or more fit, or even less fit than we are today. We probably have less hair because when we were born, our parents found out that hair is not good to have everywhere, so then we probably had hair taken out of us, and then we figured out how to permanently get rid of hair. And then it was a gene that was lost.
                  • Kraggish Muchabout 5 years
                    I Personally don't believe we were ever primates. We didn't evolve.
                    • gady
                      gadyalmost 6 years