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New theories on human hairlessness

New theories on human hairlessness
trefwoorden: mens - haarloos - dna
One of the most distinctive evolutionary changes as humans parted company from their fellow apes was their loss of body hair.
But why and when human body hair disappeared, together with the matter of when people first started to wear clothes, are questions that have long lain beyond the reach of archaeology and paleontology.
Ingenious solutions to both issues have now been proposed, independently, by two research groups analyzing changes in DNA. The result, if the dates are accurate, is something of an embarrassment. It implies we were naked for more than a million years before we started wearing clothes.
Dr. Alan R. Rogers, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Utah, says he has figured out when humans lost their hair by an indirect method depending on the gene that determines skin color. Dr. Mark Stoneking of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, believes he has established when humans first wore clothes. His method too is indirect: It involves dating the evolution of the human body louse, which only infests clothes.

Lees verder bij: The Ledger Online (24 augustus 2003)