View Full Version : Article on why we have hair...

March 14th, 2008, 01:19 PM
This was passed on to me by a former professor. I thought it would be quite appropriate to link here....


March 14th, 2008, 02:32 PM
Thank you for the link. I find it interesting how the evolutionary biologists all have different theories as to why we have hair...

I just wonder why the scent/pheramonal component of head hair isn't taken into account? I know that when I let my buns down my male friends comment on it-one's said that my hair smells more pheramonal than a woman in heat- there was a VERY strange conversation to get that comment out of him, but apparently the scent retention of head hair is very strong.

Possibly the scent retention and the health aspects are similar? The world may never know.

Although, if they DO figure out some sort of genetic knock out to make head hair grow faster, I will be the first in line for the second generation of the treatment, you'd better believe it!

March 14th, 2008, 03:56 PM
I've seen all these theories before, and am still puzzled, as are these guys apparently.

The aquatic ape theory is very compelling, but there are still a lot of holes in it. Particularly, try to find other semi-aquatic species with long head hair! They may have subcutaneous fat like we do, and they may be 'naked' like us, i.e. with only vestigial body fur, but they don't have long manes. So, even if true, it doesn't explain the mane.

As for the reader comments under the article, I don't think I'll be relying on my hair to protect me from tigers any time soon!

March 14th, 2008, 05:41 PM
Thanks for the link! I do have to comment, like Alun, on the tiger theory from the reader. I've worked with Tigers, and there is no amount of hair that will stop one from killing you if it so pleases! Just another pro-aquatic ape theorist trying to push his ideas.

I'm not totally against the theory, but I'm not all for it either. I like Conroy's version of head hair being equivalent to runaway selection. Our long manes are some super-stimulus to attract mates!

March 14th, 2008, 07:14 PM
Yeah, the theory that hair has been sexually selected makes the most sense to me.
The aquatic ape theory makes sense for a lot of other things, but it sure doesn't explain the hair.
Early humans probably just started to be attracted to other early humans with the best hair. Then they produced offspring with good hair genes. Then that kept happening. Heck, it still happens now.

It would sure explain a lot of the current attitude against older women with long hair. In the past when it was kept up all the time, it wouldn't have been a big deal. Now, though, since wearing hair down is common, there could be a bit of "hey, you don't need to attract a mate with good genes anymore - why do you need that all hair?" We kind of want to desexualize Grandma (and a 40 year old is old enough to have had children who have matured enough to have children themselves; regardless of the fact that many of us don't have children that early in life).

(Not to say I agree with these people. I plan on keeping my hair long as long as I want to.)

March 14th, 2008, 07:20 PM
I have my own weird theory, though it goes alone with the sexual aspect contained in the article. My personal opinion is that head hair is well, a turn on..... because before we lost body hair and were apelike, we probably groomed each other just as they do, and found it relaxing and calming.

As we lost other body hair, we kept this, to retain that grooming aspect. Just a theory mind you, but it seems everyone likes touching hair, even their own.

March 14th, 2008, 07:54 PM
I've also heard that we kept it around to keep our heads warm - because our brains are so huge, they need a lot of blood to function, and that results in a lot of heat loss from off the top of the head.

Silver & Gold
March 14th, 2008, 09:24 PM
Interesting. I've read/heard similar things over the years.

Personally, I just like being called a "naked ape".

Naked, naked, naked . . . *runs amok, all chimp-like* . . . oo, oo, oo . . .

March 20th, 2008, 09:12 AM
iiiiinteresting! i love evolution articles. Thinking about buying a darwin book ....

March 20th, 2008, 10:14 AM
What - we're not a cross between apes and horses? I'm disappointed! :p

March 20th, 2008, 10:25 AM
That was really interesting, but if I had to wait 8yrs for my hair to get to waist length i'd die of impatience.

March 20th, 2008, 10:35 AM
Yeah, I sure hope it doesn't take me close to 8 years to get there!

I also thought that the tiger comment was funny - hair is thin and relatively weak (if you compare if to tiger jaws and teeth). I'm sure that a tiger could kill a person even if said person was wearing a foot thick "collar" of hair around his/her neck. - Even if the teeth couldn't get through, the tiger could break the neck of just bite into some other vital area.