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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Clothes
« on: September 14, 2012, 08:42:17 AM »
A seemingly simple question...but I am curious about the answer.

I am a hairy beast. Nearly every square inch of me is covered except the usual spots like the palms of my hands, forehead, the bottoms of my feet and oddly...my ankles. You can see a neat line where the hair from my legs stops and the average height of my socks. I believe this is due to decades of close contact with socks rubbing the hair off. If I were to stop wearing socks I think the hair would eventually start growing back.

Some peoples generally have much less body hair than other peoples...such as the American Indians.

My question is, as a species, when did our hair start thinning out? When did we start to become "hairless" apes? Did we start wearing the hides of other animals because of this transition or did we start loosing our hair when we started wearing clothes?

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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2012, 09:51:55 AM »
A seemingly simple question...but I am curious about the answer.

I am a hairy beast. Nearly every square inch of me is covered except the usual spots like the palms of my hands, forehead, the bottoms of my feet and oddly...my ankles. You can see a neat line where the hair from my legs stops and the average height of my socks. I believe this is due to decades of close contact with socks rubbing the hair off. If I were to stop wearing socks I think the hair would eventually start growing back.

Some peoples generally have much less body hair than other peoples...such as the American Indians.

My question is, as a species, when did our hair start thinning out? When did we start to become "hairless" apes? Did we start wearing the hides of other animals because of this transition or did we start loosing our hair when we started wearing clothes?

IIRC, hair loss started well before the level of tool use needed for hides in the order of tens of thousands of years.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2012, 10:01:51 AM »
IIRC, hair loss started well before the level of tool use needed for hides in the order of tens of thousands of years.

That jives with my recollection as well but I am curious as to what the practical upshot was in the process of natural selection for us to start loosing a measure of protection from the environment.

Why was the gene for less hair more beneficial? How did it help our ancestors chances for survival?

Is there any research on this?
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2012, 10:08:23 AM »
IIRC, hair loss started well before the level of tool use needed for hides in the order of tens of thousands of years.

That jives with my recollection as well but I am curious as to what the practical upshot was in the process of natural selection for us to start loosing a measure of protection from the environment.

Why was the gene for less hair more beneficial? How did it help our ancestors chances for survival?

Is there any research on this?
I've been curious myself, but it might have been a linked gene thing. For example if the mutation for a semi-opposable pinkey(which reasearch about 15 years ago showed is needed for tool creation, and very useful for homid pre tool advantage of thrown weaponry)was linked to the gene for less hair, and the semi opposable pinkey was more beneficial than the hair loss, the linked gene would be more likely to be passed.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline Avatar Of Belial

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2012, 10:22:58 AM »
We may have also evolved in a warmer environment - where excess hair would trap too much heat and thus be a detriment.
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2012, 10:31:53 AM »
I watched a nature documentary some months ago that addressed this question -- I wish I could remember which one specifically it was so I could give a link or something, but I can't.

Anyway -- this was one of several things covered by the show, which was about human evolution in general.  Basically, loss of hair gives the organism greater control over regulating its own heat, as AoB suggests.  More specifically, having no coat of hair makes it more practical for human beings to run at high speeds, which produces an obvious survival advantage.  Clothing came later when human beings began migrating from the warm African climates where they evolved to places where there was colder weather.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 10:51:38 AM »
Sexual selection may also come into play.  Not all traits are strictly beneficial in the sense you are thinking of.  Case in point: peacocks.  Those big, beautiful tail feathers are great for attracting peahens, but horrible for avoiding predators. 
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Offline writerstephen

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2012, 12:31:48 PM »
Sexual selection may also come into play.  Not all traits are strictly beneficial in the sense you are thinking of.  Case in point: peacocks.  Those big, beautiful tail feathers are great for attracting peahens, but horrible for avoiding predators. 

Yeah, that's what i was thinking. Perhaps our mutated hairless predecessors were instantly more attractive to the opposite sex, and everyone wanted to mate with them.

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2012, 01:02:48 PM »
Sexual selection may also come into play.  Not all traits are strictly beneficial in the sense you are thinking of.  Case in point: peacocks.  Those big, beautiful tail feathers are great for attracting peahens, but horrible for avoiding predators. 

Yeah, that's what i was thinking. Perhaps our mutated hairless predecessors were instantly more attractive to the opposite sex, and everyone wanted to mate with them.
As a member of a pretty hairless ethnic group, I second this emotion. I never saw really hairy people until I went to college, and boy what a shock. Humans with hair.... on their backs?  :o

Since I am married to a hairy white person, I obviously got over my initial surprise. ;)

But...How did hair-covered lipless white people ever decide that smooth shiny black people were the ones somehow closer to hair-covered lipless apes? :?
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Offline writerstephen

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2012, 01:15:04 PM »
As a member of a pretty hairless ethnic group, I second this emotion. I never saw really hairy people until I went to college, and boy what a shock. Humans with hair.... on their backs?  :o

Since I am married to a hairy white person, I obviously got over my initial surprise. ;)

But...How did hair-covered lipless white people ever decide that smooth shiny black people were the ones somehow closer to hair-covered lipless apes? :?

Haha, somehow i don't think evolutionary logic came into play for that value judgment.

Offline Hatter23

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2012, 01:38:24 PM »

But...How did hair-covered lipless white people ever decide that smooth shiny black people were the ones somehow closer to hair-covered lipless apes? :?

Facial proporations, coloration, and a post-colonial inheirited culture of imagined genetic superiority because of non imagined martial technology superiority.

However if you pay attention to body hair, and yes even body proportions the caucasian has the stronger resemblance to the ape. Genreally Negros that have a small amount of caucasian blood, do have the stronger facial resemblance to apes; with the exception of certain racial subtypes of Caucasians, such as those with Melungeon decent. It doesn't make a lot of sense given that Caucasian are the ones to have more Neanderthal genes than Negros or Mongoloids. I figure it may have something to do with the general principle of genetic reversion, where long vanished traits will often express themselves when two divergent breeds produce offspring, such as the poofy curly tail in dogs will come up in crossbreeds even though neither parent had one.

An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2012, 03:55:29 PM »
But...How did hair-covered lipless white people ever decide that smooth shiny black people were the ones somehow closer to hair-covered lipless apes? :?

Haha, somehow i don't think evolutionary logic came into play for that value judgment.

Facial proporations, coloration, and a post-colonial inheirited culture of imagined genetic superiority because of non imagined martial technology superiority.

I think Craniology had much to do with it.


Edit to add


such as those with Melungeon decent.

It's hard to research genealogy of the Melungeons but my brother suspects our family may share some of those roots because of our great-grandmother. Last name Scalf but never married.

Quote
It doesn't make a lot of sense given that Caucasian are the ones to have more Neanderthal genes than Negros or Mongoloids. I figure it may have something to do with the general principle of genetic reversion, where long vanished traits will often express themselves when two divergent breeds produce offspring, such as the poofy curly tail in dogs will come up in crossbreeds even though neither parent had one.

Genetics are always interesting. Nothing really makes sense...it's like a crap shoot. For example...when my wife became pregnant the first time, we all assumed the child would be a boy. Why? There had only been two females born from the Blackwell family line in 60 years. My older brother broke the ice with his third child.

I dove in head first with my next 3 daughters.

The youngest of which was born with bright red hair. It's been generations since that has happened on the Blackwell side...if at all. No red hair on my wife's side that we know of either.

My half-sister has the exact same color hair. So it must have come from my moms side of the family. The Church's.




« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 04:13:21 PM by Mr. Blackwell »
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2012, 03:58:33 PM »
Sexual selection may also come into play.  Not all traits are strictly beneficial in the sense you are thinking of.  Case in point: peacocks.  Those big, beautiful tail feathers are great for attracting peahens, but horrible for avoiding predators.

That....I can understand completely.

Almost like the "new guy/gal" effect.
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Offline joebbowers

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2012, 03:52:35 AM »
Genetics are always interesting. Nothing really makes sense...it's like a crap shoot. For example...when my wife became pregnant the first time, we all assumed the child would be a boy. Why? There had only been two females born from the Blackwell family line in 60 years. My older brother broke the ice with his third child.

I dove in head first with my next 3 daughters.

The youngest of which was born with bright red hair. It's been generations since that has happened on the Blackwell side...if at all. No red hair on my wife's side that we know of either.

There is another possible explanation for all of that but you might not like it...
















...you've got ginger blood.
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Offline joebbowers

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2012, 03:57:28 AM »
My question is, as a species, when did our hair start thinning out? When did we start to become "hairless" apes? Did we start wearing the hides of other animals because of this transition or did we start loosing our hair when we started wearing clothes?

This is a misunderstanding of how evolution works. Our actions do not dictate our evolution, our evolution dictates our actions. The hair loss came before the wearing of clothes.
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Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2012, 05:48:51 AM »
This is a misunderstanding of how evolution works. Our actions do not dictate our evolution, our evolution dictates our actions. The hair loss came before the wearing of clothes.
I don't think so; there must be feedback. I'm having a hard time seeing how the physical capability for language could have evolved otherwise. The mental capability could be an automatic result of a highly developed social brain, but sophisticated micro-muscles and vocal chords capable of conveying 100+ phones are not.

For a perhaps more obvious example, the action of building tools, weapons, shelter will provide a selective pressure and/or eliminate one. Granted, the capability to control your actions has to be present in the first place, but that doesn't mean we developed a genetic knowledge of building tools - much like the technological development of the light bulb wasn't dictated by a particular (set of) trait(s). The power of the brain is that it's not entirely gene-dependent but very flexible. We can use it for calculus, for crying out loud :)
In short, even hairy apes could have made clothes - hair plus clothes is still better than just hair in many ways, even if the weather's fine.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2012, 05:51:20 AM by Noman Peopled »
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2012, 09:57:09 AM »
.....the bottoms of my feet and oddly...my ankles. You can see a neat line where the hair from my legs stops and the average height of my socks. I believe this is due to decades of close contact with socks rubbing the hair off. If I were to stop wearing socks I think the hair would eventually start growing back..

My leg bottoms are exactly the same.  Just thought I'd share, especially as I was wondering if it was just me!
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2012, 10:33:09 PM »
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2012, 12:13:46 AM »
It's called "persistence hunting". Just about any animal that humans would like to hunt, suffers from heat stress, when chased. In a hot climate, humans can run any animal into the ground, and then stick a spear into it. In an arid climate, the footprints of the animal can be followed easily. In rocky, cooler terrain, the human has to be better with projectiles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_hunting

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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2012, 07:35:00 AM »
It's called "persistence hunting". Just about any animal that humans would like to hunt, suffers from heat stress, when chased. In a hot climate, humans can run any animal into the ground, and then stick a spear into it. In an arid climate, the footprints of the animal can be followed easily. In rocky, cooler terrain, the human has to be better with projectiles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_hunting

Hrrm, when I learned about it it was called "cursorial hunting" which is only done by only two land dweller families; canine(lupine) and Homid.

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Offline Cycle4Fun

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2012, 01:22:12 PM »
My question is, as a species, when did our hair start thinning out? When did we start to become "hairless" apes? Did we start wearing the hides of other animals because of this transition or did we start loosing our hair when we started wearing clothes?

Our ancestors had gained thick pubic hair around 3.3 million years ago.  By this time we had already lost our body hair.  Head and pubic lice share different common ancestors so we can say we had lost all body hair and gained pubic hair by 3.3 million years ago.  Our naked ancestors and gorillas were...probably eating each other.

How we know this is really interesting.  It's head and pubic lice.  Head lice share a common ancestor with our closest relative, chimpanzees.  Pubic lice share an ancestor with the lice found in gorillas.  Chimpanzee/head/gorilla/pubic lice share a common ancestor.

Chimp and head lice diverged about 5.5 million years ago.  Pubic and gorilla lice diverged as early as 3.3 million years ago.  Body lice are considered to be the same species as head lice with multiple origin dates.  Which likely matches the various and multiple inventions of clothing around the world.

Hair poses interesting evolutionary questions.  Our cousins don't have pubic hair.  It's likely we evolved pubic hair as a sign of sexual maturity and to help carry smell.  While our loss of body hair may be to help us cool off, signal health (look, I have no infection), or some other reason.

If you're really interested, you can read and find more sources here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2687769/
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 01:58:54 PM by Cycle4Fun »
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2012, 01:55:37 PM »
Our naked ancestors and gorillas were

Were what?  for chrissakes, man, you can't leave us hanging like that!


As an aside, it is interesting we developed pubic hair millions of years ago and now spend an awful lot of time, effort and money removing it.
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Offline Cycle4Fun

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2012, 02:01:23 PM »
Our naked ancestors and gorillas were

Were what?  for chrissakes, man, you can't leave us hanging like that!


As an aside, it is interesting we developed pubic hair millions of years ago and now spend an awful lot of time, effort and money removing it.

There I fixed it for you.  Our ancestors were probably eating gorillas.  We could have also been sleeping in the same areas after a group of gorillas moved on.  It's doubtful we were having relations.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2012, 02:05:12 PM »
Our naked ancestors and gorillas were

Were what?  for chrissakes, man, you can't leave us hanging like that!

I felt the same way but dismissed it. Meh. We may never know.


Quote
As an aside, it is interesting we developed pubic hair millions of years ago and now spend an awful lot of time, effort and money removing it.

We can thank the sex industry for that... :P

As for me I like hair...long beautiful hair


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Offline hickdive

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2012, 02:16:50 PM »
When I shower in the morning I think it as abundantly clear that clothing was developed around the same time we evolved taste, decency and the gag reflex.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2012, 02:29:03 PM »
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2012, 03:22:11 PM »

There I fixed it for you.  Our ancestors were probably eating gorillas.  We could have also been sleeping in the same areas after a group of gorillas moved on.  It's doubtful we were having relations.

More than a little doubtful, early enough...impossible. Humankind wouldn't have developed as a seperate strain of primates until we were an isolated population group.
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Re: Clothes
« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2012, 03:36:01 PM »
Remind me to never read anything from Cycle4Fun while eating lunch. Science be disgusting.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Cycle4Fun

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Re: Clothes
« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2012, 10:18:05 AM »

There I fixed it for you.  Our ancestors were probably eating gorillas.  We could have also been sleeping in the same areas after a group of gorillas moved on.  It's doubtful we were having relations.

More than a little doubtful, early enough...impossible. Humankind wouldn't have developed as a seperate strain of primates until we were an isolated population group.

I'm confused by your comment.  Pubic lice made the jump to human ancestors after we lost body hair and then likely gained pubic hair.  We had diverged from gorillas long before then.

It is very unlikely a few human types had sex with gorilla's.  Modern man does, we'll call them strange, things.  Most likely we picked up the lice while eating gorilla meat. 
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