Why Humans Lost Their Fur

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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!

Resources:britishecologicalsociety.org

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238 Comments
  • animereina2020
    animereina2020Monday, May 11, 2020 at 8:05 pm
    WHAA?! MIND BLOWN!
    • LoolooMonday, January 28, 2019 at 11:48 am
      I wouldn’t want to be covered with fur
      • Buzz light yearMonday, January 28, 2019 at 7:30 am
        2 infinity and beyond
        • jeffFriday, March 9, 2018 at 10:38 am
          love the article
          • jayfeeMonday, February 26, 2018 at 1:37 pm
            its ok it could be longer
            • coolguyTuesday, February 13, 2018 at 6:10 am
              I love the article!
              • ZooGeekWednesday, December 6, 2017 at 10:08 am
                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 MuchWednesday, December 6, 2017 at 10:00 am
                  I Personally don't believe we were ever primates. We didn't evolve.
                  • gady
                    gadyTuesday, March 21, 2017 at 11:56 am
                    wow
                    • jayfury
                      jayfuryThursday, March 17, 2016 at 11:20 am
                      They look so weired