Why don't humans have fur?

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Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 06:50 am
Does anybody happen to know?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 08:22 am
@Arjuna,
Um, I happen to have hair all over my body. I thought most of us did. Look really close in the mirror and I bet you can see the tiny hairs on your nose, too.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 08:28 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;103788 wrote:
Does anybody happen to know?


The Garden of Eden was quite warm and tropical. So it wasn't needed.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 09:01 am
@kennethamy,
Yea, I have hair, but it seems like fur would be more protective.

I can't really think of any advantage. Maybe Adam and Eve had really nice fur like leopards. That would be paradise.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 09:03 am
@Arjuna,
The Answer: It'd take too much shampoo

In all seriousness, the way I understand it, we actually are one of the hairest creatures on the planet (meaning: more folicals). We only don't appear so much so because most of our body hair is light and/or thin.
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 09:07 am
@kennethamy,
I read a good reason in an obscure book once. It claimed we lived for thousands of years by the side of warm inland seas and many of our characteristics developed at this time. We actually swam under water and caught fish in this manner. Thats why we have slightly webbed hands and feet and our noses are designed so water does not enter them when diving. If we had fur it would have caused a drag when swimming. We only needed hair on our heads to protect us from the sun and as man was the hunter he needed his face covered because he was exposed for longer periods than women. Women needed to express their feelings to the children and hair would have hinder this contact. Interesting but it might just be twaddle.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 09:29 am
@Arjuna,
I want a tail, I think that'd be cool. I can picture myself holding a cup of coffee with it, pressing the elevator button when my hands are full, etc.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 09:29 am
@xris,
Why humans do not have as much hair as we once had is probably the same reason most of us still have canines, and a vermiform appendix. Those are what are called vestigial traits, that is, they are traits (or really structures) that have lost effectiveness/usefulness/what-have-you and are phased out through the evolutionary process. Why humans do not have as much hair as they once did is the same as asking why manatees have fingernails on their fins, or why whales have a pelvic bone (which essentially means that whales at one time had legs). Humans just do not need that much hair anymore. But that does not mean we do not need hair at all, since we still have hair on certain parts of our body which require protection in one way or another. But even in that regard, we are still losing one trait here and gaining another trait there.

Interesting factoid is that although we may be going "buck-nekid" in the grander scheme of things, the evolutionary process is forming a sixth finger as a matter of the practical evolutionary process. God knows if that is going to be a practical addition though, because sometimes the evolutionary process gives us things that we could really be equipped better with. For example, we have photoreceptors that go into the eye rather than out of the eye as in the case of mollusks, giving us some minor limitations and, overall, a hampered structure. Why there should be a evolutionary preference to a design which creates a blind spot and obstructs light is a very interesting question though.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 10:03 am
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;103828 wrote:
Why there should be a evolutionary preference to a design which creates a blind spot and obstructs light is a very interesting question though.
Humans have a huge blind spot compared to a duck, which can see almost all the way around. But I don't guess ducks have depth perception.

Maybe technology interferes with natural selection. Maybe our genes to make fur are turned off, and they never turned back on because we started wearing animal furs.

We influence natural selection through our social sanctions.

I would also love to have a tail. I can see a billion dollar industry there: tail care.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 10:47 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;103838 wrote:
Humans have a huge blind spot compared to a duck, which can see almost all the way around. But I don't guess ducks have depth perception.

Maybe technology interferes with natural selection. Maybe our genes to make fur are turned off, and they never turned back on because we started wearing animal furs.

We influence natural selection through our social sanctions.

I would also love to have a tail. I can see a billion dollar industry there: tail care.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 11:12 am
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;103848 wrote:
But as far as I remember, the problem with depth perception, whether it be a duck or a human, stem from issues with focusing of the image on the retina.

I was thinking depth perception comes from focusing on a object with both eyes... two eyes produce two images that get "produced," (not with cakewalk,) into a single image with depth. Predators tend to have their eyes pointed in the same direction so they can catch the prey more easily. It's funny how we can talk about this as if there is some intelligence behind it, when we're imagining that it's all a matter of selection.

VideCorSpoon;103848 wrote:
Yea, I guess I'm doing the questionable thing of talking about a culture as if it's a single living thing that reinforces its identity within itself through sanctions. Like: we cripple criminals, if we don't kill them. What are we trying to select out?

They say german shepherds are more aggressive than wolves because they've been bred for aggression. I've wondered if there are cultures that basically breed for aggression... or did in the past. So, just like a human with no fur who moves to Siberia, maybe I have to find someway to cope with having been bred for aggression when I don't need it. The contents of the local art museum might be the outcome? Or the latest violent movie?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 11:53 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;103857 wrote:
I was thinking depth perception comes from focusing on a object with both eyes... two eyes produce two images that get "produced," (not with cakewalk,) into a single image with depth. Predators tend to have their eyes pointed in the same direction so they can catch the prey more easily. It's funny how we can talk about this as if there is some intelligence behind it, when we're imagining that it's all a matter of selection.

But each eye has to have roughly the same input in order to produce the optimal three dimensional image. The point I was making was in regard to a single abnormality that could cause issues with depth perception as a whole. That there would be any intelligence behind it, the thing is, you never know. Key criticisms of natural selection, evolution, and the like are numerous. One of the few that I can agree with are that evolution by itself is not fully demonstrable. Simply, the theory of evolution is just a theory until another discovery approves or denies it. Not that it is completely disproven, only that the whole issue itself deserves more consideration. But there are a lot more interesting and complex arguments as well, like irreducible complexity and even violations of fundamental principles in the second law of thermodynamics. So essentially, intelligence or not, it's there and dang it it is complex as heck.

Arjuna;103857 wrote:
Yea, I guess I'm doing the questionable thing of talking about a culture as if it's a single living thing that reinforces its identity within itself through sanctions. Like: we cripple criminals, if we don't kill them. What are we trying to select out?

On a hilarious side note, have you seen the Magaritaville episode on South Park? In the episode, everybody is spending frivolously as always, but the economy hits a snag and all of a sudden, everybody's money is gone and the economy is in shambles. Stan's dad leads this odd cult that basically attributes personhood to the economy by saying "you have angered the economy by spending wildly!!! This is the wrath you have incurred!" LOL! The crux of the story is that the economy is a composite of the population rather than a thing in itself. So beware of Stan's dad and don't buy the Margaritaville. I'm not quite sure what you are stating with crippling criminals and killing them though, you may have to elaborate more on that.

Arjuna;103857 wrote:
They say german shepherds are more aggressive than wolves because they've been bred for aggression. I've wondered if there are cultures that basically breed for aggression... or did in the past. So, just like a human with no fur who moves to Siberia, maybe I have to find someway to cope with having been bred for aggression when I don't need it. The contents of the local art museum might be the outcome? Or the latest violent movie?
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 12:54 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;103867 wrote:
But there are a lot more interesting and complex arguments as well, like irreducible complexity and even violations of fundamental principles in the second law of thermodynamics. So essentially, intelligence or not, it's there and dang it it is complex as heck.
The idea of natural selection permeates my thoughts to the point that I'd have to try to see things differently. Yet, I grew up in a rigid Christian framework. I think I'm like the little Irish lady who when asked if there are fairies, says.. of course not... but they're there. Could you explain irreducible complexity and violations of the second law of thermodynamics?
VideCorSpoon;103867 wrote:
On a hilarious side note, have you seen the Magaritaville episode on South Park? In the episode, everybody is spending frivolously as always, but the economy hits a snag and all of a sudden, everybody's money is gone and the economy is in shambles. Stan's dad leads this odd cult that basically attributes personhood to the economy by saying "you have angered the economy by spending wildly!!! This is the wrath you have incurred!" LOL! The crux of the story is that the economy is a composite of the population rather than a thing in itself. So beware of Stan's dad and don't buy the Margaritaville. I'm not quite sure what you are stating with crippling criminals and killing them though, you may have to elaborate more on that.
That's so human. I used to work with old computers... they caused me to become superstitious. To this day, I jokingly caution people not to say mean things about a computer when they're standing right in front of it. There's an irrational me down inside that's not joking. I hope Butters didn't buy into the mania. Did you see the one where Butters killed a bunch of people while tap dancing?


VideCorSpoon;103867 wrote:

That some cultures breed for aggressive traits, I'm sure there are many. Assertiveness is usually something that many cultures consider a positive attribute. Unfortunately, that has been the source of some of the most divisive parts of civilization for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Take Phrenology for example. Phrenology is essentially measuring the size and shape of the brain in order to determine if particular personality traits and other factors are inherent in, say, the aggressive nature of given populations. It was actually all the rage back in the past twentieth century, as well as the ninetieth and earlier centuries. It was the cornerstone of scientific racism which spread from racial distinctions in the U.S. to the mass genocide of millions of innocent Jews, Gypsies, etc. during World War II.
Ah yes... brain size. As I recall, other parts were also stastically analyzed for size. Crazy people.

VideCorSpoon;103867 wrote:
Modern.. postmodern... yea. I paint fake icons. Lately I've been painting people I know. My next big trick is to paint each of my grandparents... like one grandfather painted houses, so he'll be in overhauls with his favorite paintbrush (which hangs on a nail in my studio.) For some reason this sounds a little creepy now that I write about it. I don't know how I'd do with video games. That strand of irrationality I have leads me to empathize with everything. I'd have to be starving to kill. Although I'm sure bootcamp would shape me up.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Tue 17 Nov, 2009 10:21 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;103884 wrote:
The idea of natural selection permeates my thoughts to the point that I'd have to try to see things differently. Yet, I grew up in a rigid Christian framework. I think I'm like the little Irish lady who when asked if there are fairies, says.. of course not... but they're there. Could you explain irreducible complexity and violations of the second law of thermodynamics?

Honestly, that should be the correct way to look at things in general, let alone science. The funny thing behind the strain between evolution and intelligent design is that it is not as cut and dry as many people may think. Where an evolutionist may say that the absence of a definite origin (perhaps God) does not disprove the existence of a thing, a theist may say that the existence of a thing is evidence of the maker of that thing. Like Donald Rumsfeld said, the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. LOL! But the wonderful thing is that the finite parts are somewhat looked over when the discussion is started. Seriously, what about the finite parts that make up the whole? There are numerous intermediates in the evolutionary process that improve on the previous design, yet the fact that we observe a progression means there is probably some ontological chain going back to the beginning (where the big abstract issue resides). Its like this metaphysics joke;

Alan: Atlas holds the world on his shoulders. But what holds Atlas up?
Bob: A giant turtle
Alan: But what holds that turtle up?
Bob: Another turtle.
Alan: But what holds that turtle up?
Bob: My friend, its turtles all the way down.

LOL! So don't dismiss the existence of fairies, because there is bound to be a turtle under all of us. Wait, that doesn't make any sense at all.

On the irreducible complexity principle and the second law of thermodynamics as applied to evolution, chances are you have already heard of them, just not in that way. In the case of irreducible complexity, there are some cellular functions that that we direly need to keep the whole package going, like blood clotting and stuff like that. The question could then be asked how on earth a little piece of the bigger puzzle like blood clotting can be created via the process of evolution/natural selection? Its actually a very interesting debate. In the case of the second law of thermodynamics, the argument essentially is that things do not organize in random occurrence, but become more disorganized. Its entropy applied to biology. The jumble that is the evolutionary process is, as some would point out, encapsulated in a closed system (life boat earth), which essentially means that the chances for disorder exponentially increases. But we get energy from the sun and stuff like that so it's not really a closed system. Interesting stuff.


Arjuna;103884 wrote:
That's so human. I used to work with old computers... they caused me to become superstitious. To this day, I jokingly caution people not to say mean things about a computer when they're standing right in front of it. There's an irrational me down inside that's not joking. I hope Butters didn't buy into the mania. Did you see the one where Butters killed a bunch of people while tap dancing?


On that note, you might like this; YouTube - Your Printer is a Brat
 
Persona phil
 
Reply Tue 17 Nov, 2009 10:33 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;103838 wrote:
Humans have a huge blind spot compared to a duck, which can see almost all the way around. But I don't guess ducks have depth perception.

Maybe technology interferes with natural selection. Maybe our genes to make fur are turned off, and they never turned back on because we started wearing animal furs.

We influence natural selection through our social sanctions.

I would also love to have a tail. I can see a billion dollar industry there: tail care.

While I believe that technological advancement has changed the course of our natural selection(especially the advancement of travel, causing dramatic genetic drift), everything I know about genes tells me they don't work in a "on" and "off" way.

---------- Post added 11-17-2009 at 11:38 AM ----------

Last I heard about it, it was because we originated in a hot area(Africa, as far as I'm aware). Fur was a disadvantage for us to cool down. Unlike animals who cool themselves down by breathing on their tounge(cooling the blood cells therein' which circulate through the rest of the body), we developed the sweat mechanism. Lacking fur and obtaining a superior biological cooling system, we could chase down prey for much longer periods of time without overheating.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Tue 17 Nov, 2009 02:02 pm
@Persona phil,
Speaking about how we once had hair and now we don't, another important thing to consider is the fact that there is a huge difference in our conception of "evolution" and genuine Darwinian evolution . I notice(not in this thread but in a majority of other evolution themed threads) how people link a certain need to a characteristic and apply evolution in that way. Even Darwin had a problem with that.

I think a vast majority of people (including me) confuse a flawed version of evolutionary theory with the more practical application by Darwin. Hilariously enough, Darwin does not even use the term "evolution" in the majority of his books, but rather "modification with descent." I believe that most people confuse Lamarck with Darwin.
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 07:06 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
An interesting point could be that plastic surgery including dental work, is influencing our constructive evolution, those who wear braces have offspring who have straighter teeth and smaller noses etc.
Has this been proven anywhere?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 07:29 pm
@sometime sun,
sometime sun;104753 wrote:
An interesting point could be that plastic surgery including dental work, is influencing our constructive evolution, those who wear braces have offspring who have straighter teeth and smaller noses etc.
Has this been proven anywhere?


That's probably a more Lamarckian perspective on evolution. Again, we do not evolve to meet the needs of our environments, we evolve as a matter of natural selection, that a given (random) mutation becomes a preferential asset and subsequently dominant in later generations.

However, you do have a point though. Say you have people who are born with six fingers who now, thanks to medical advances, have those extra fingers removed in order to fit the normative model. In a base sort of way, not many people would want to mate with a person with six fingers, so the persons genetic line would die off. I suppose that would be an aesthetic selection rather than natural selection if you think about it, but the concept is fundamentally the same. Anyway, because that sixth finger is removed, they are more likely to attract a mate and continue their genetic line. The six finger issue still resides in their genetic code, but the immediate term of selection is bypassed altogether. In this way, you could look at it as though modern medical advancements are increasing the possibilities of genetic diversification.

On straighter teeth and smaller noses, I don't know if the two traits are correlated.
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 07:58 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
But aren't more people pretty today?
Put the term 'Beautiful people' in some kind of placement.
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 11:24 pm
@Arjuna,
since i dont know how to multiquote (cant see videos) i will comment on certain points.

first, i can verify you can have depth perception with one eye, since after my first surgery i had the most amazing and spectacular depth perception like i never had before in my life with two eyes and glasses on top.

secondly, if we keep cutting off one of our fingers how do the genes know that happened to be able to eliminate it in later models? wouldnt it be better to tie everyone's pinky in a splint for a number of generations so it couldnt do anything, and then the genes would recognize it wasnt being used and stop making them?

third, i happen to like kinky crooked and missing teeth...i often chose my mates on that basis. crooked noses is pretty cool too, but not necessary.

and last of all, i dont know why we dont have fur or if we ever did, but i think we would look a helluva lot better with it than without!
 
 

 
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