Can human body hair disappear as a result of… clothing?
October 10, 2014 at 6:26 pm #17929jplrParticipant
I’ve recently heard somebody (who’s supposed to know a lot about biology) saying that future human generations probably will have less or no body hair because it is not needed anymore (because now we have clothes). Is this correct? I understand that it is possible due to mutation and genetic drift, but is it really probable?
October 11, 2014 at 5:17 pm #115494JackBeanParticipant
Is it possible? Of course. Why not?
October 11, 2014 at 6:16 pm #115496jplrParticipant
I understand that it is possible. I feel my original post wasn’t clear enough so I’m going to ask it again in a different way.
Humans don’t need body hair anymore, because we’ve created clothes, which are a better way to control body temperature. So what will happen to human pelage in future generations?
Theory 1) Humankind will probably be hairy until its end, because it doesn’t have an impact significant enough to trigger an evolutionary response. Wearing clothes when you already have hair doesn’t kill anybody.
Theory 2) At one point, humans will probably stop growing body hair because of an evolutionary mechanism that will influence mutation and cause our offspring to not have hair follicles, because they are not necessary or helpful anymore.
Which one is closer to reality/scientific knowledge?
October 31, 2014 at 2:02 am #115525CatParticipantquote jplr:
Point 1: Mutations are random. They do not select to happen when they are helpful.
Point 2: Evolutionary mechanism is called natural selection. What it means – if none of the hairy individuals are unable to find mates at some point, only then hair within population would disappear.
Point 3: As of right now, we are fully capable of growing hair all over our bodies. This does not happen only because of hormones we express. Therefore, changes in hormones influence hair growth, not absence/presence of hair follicles.
Point 4: Going with your argument, closing has nothing to do with hair growth because females do not have beard while males do independent of clothing.
December 14, 2014 at 7:13 pm #115589HrushikeshParticipant
In this case, in addition to natural selection, sexual selection must also be operating: different sexes may show particular mating preference for other sex’s characteristics. If females prefer hairy males and males prefer hairless females, the forces would be conflicting. As you have pointed out, they may also be very small in magnitude to actually make a difference.
Moreover, the effective morphology may be different from inherited or original morphology: people may modify their original body hair.
This may cause false selections and alter the natural process.
Such sexual selection preferences may also vary among individuals of human population introducing more conflicting forces.
So this situation becomes quite interesting.
If the forces remain active for longer we may end up with the fitter phenotype e.g. hairy males and hairless females.
Any further thoughts..?
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