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Thread: Human Nakedness: Adaptation Against Ectoparasites?

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    Exclamation Human Nakedness: Adaptation Against Ectoparasites?

    Int J Parasitol. 1999 Dec;29(12):1987-9.


    Human nakedness: adaptation against ectoparasites?

    Rantala MJ.

    Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. marrant@st.jyu.fi

    Homo sapiens L. has been described as the naked ape, and this nakedness undoubtedly constitutes one of the most striking differences in appearance between man and the apes. Nakedness has been attributed at various times to sexual selection [1], aquatic stage [2], hunting [3], cooling [4], sex [5], neoteny [6] and allometry [7], most proposed explanations logically revealing some aspect of the phenomenon. However, most fail to account for the distinctiveness of man's hairlessness among mammals of the same size. Unfortunately, fossils cannot help us to explain how denudation occurred, and how it helped hominids to survive. In this paper I will present an old hypothesis with a new point of view incorporating more recent evidence.

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    Post Re: Human nakedness: adaptation against ectoparasites?

    Quote Originally Posted by Euclides
    Int J Parasitol. 1999 Dec;29(12):1987-9.


    Human nakedness: adaptation against ectoparasites?

    Rantala MJ.

    Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. marrant@st.jyu.fi

    Homo sapiens L. has been described as the naked ape, and this nakedness undoubtedly constitutes one of the most striking differences in appearance between man and the apes. Nakedness has been attributed at various times to sexual selection [1], aquatic stage [2], hunting [3], cooling [4], sex [5], neoteny [6] and allometry [7], most proposed explanations logically revealing some aspect of the phenomenon. However, most fail to account for the distinctiveness of man's hairlessness among mammals of the same size. Unfortunately, fossils cannot help us to explain how denudation occurred, and how it helped hominids to survive. In this paper I will present an old hypothesis with a new point of view incorporating more recent evidence.
    There is another strong theory to explain this in addition to a few very interesting other physiological characteristics that distinguish humans from other primates. The theory is that man has had a prior aquatic past which is not to say that he was some kind of fish , but only that as a primate he had a period in his evolution with a strong association with water. See Elaine Morgan's book: "The Aquatic ape". I have a medical background and found all the anatomical and physiological info quite plausible.

    Man is the only primate that can hold his breath and has a well-documented physiological reflex when submerged called the diving reflex. Human babies are also perfectly adapted to water births, are chubby unlike other primates at birth and swim underwater quite well at birth. There are many other water adaptations including the "loss" of body hair (the hair is not lost but just very fine and follows a streamlining pattern on the body surface. We have as much hair as any ape; its just qualitatively different)
    Wagner rules!

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