Naked Ape Not so Naked

tony leather By tony leather, 27th Apr 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/vp_x079y/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Off Beat

Human fine hair is found to be vellus or terminal types, vellus being the so-called peach fuzz, while terminal hairs are the thicker versions found around the body, each hair having a nerves attached to it, enabling us to detect hair displacement due to invader activity around it.

Naked Ape Not so Naked


When Desmond Morris wrote the legendary book called The Naked Ape, He was obviously discounting the fact that human bodies are in actuality covered in extremely fine hairs, which are useful in detecting of parasites and preventing biting by bugs.

So despite appearing to be hairless to a large extent, humans are in fact covered with peach fuzz and other hair types, because it is thought that parasites caused humanity, over evolutionary time, to lose the thick ape fur, but to retain a high density of hair follicles, all the same.

The reasons for this are, in evolutionary terms, very simple, as the densely packed, though fine hairs have the sensitivity to enhance parasite detection as well as stopping bites, humans actually having the same hair follicles density as any similar sized primate.

Human fine hair is found to be vellus or terminal types, vellus being the so-called peach fuzz, while terminal hairs are the thicker versions found around the body, each hair having a nerves attached to it, enabling us to detect hair displacement due to invader activity around it.
University of Sheffield Department of Animal & Plant Sciences professor of entomology, Siva-Jothy, along with Isabelle Dean placed bed bugs on 10 women and 19 men student volunteers, on shaved and unshaved arm areas, each bug hungry and ready to feast.
With volunteers needing to remain still throughout the experiments, the researchers noted how hairy each student was, and the length of time needed for bed bugs to get ready for eating, though no volunteers were bitten during the experiments.
As it turned out, each host demonstrated more frequent detections of parasites on unshaved arms of both sexes, though bug search times on men took significantly longer because males simply have much more body hair, through testosterone effects, meaning that male bodies present more challenging obstacle courses.
It is believed that human body hair not only deters bed bugs, but other parasites like mosquitoes, ticks and leeches as well as, reference earlier research, aiding in the maintenance of sweat glands. Whilst thick fur might once have provided warmth and protection, it helped parasites by giving them hiding places..
It is an interesting hypothesis that ecto-parasitic life impacted on human evolution with regard to hairiness or lack of it, though in terms of hair follicle quantity we actually have the potential for being as hairy as we once might have been so perhaps Desmond Morris should have referred to humanity as apparently naked apes, to be precise. Once more proof that in nature, nothing is ever exactly what it might at first seem.

Tags

Biology, Evolution, Hair, Humans, Protection

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author avatar tony leather
mainly non-fiction articles, though I do write short stories, poetry and descriptive prose as well. Have been writing for over ten years now

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