Why Are We Not As Hairy As Chewbacca?
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Besides having lower chances of getting hair lice, what are the reasons that made us evolve to be less hairy?
What differentiates us from Chewbacca the Wookie?
Other than the fact that Chewbacca is from a fictional world in a different galaxy, we might not have been that different from the Wookies. Long ago, before we evolved, some scientists theorised that humans used to have more hair on our body than we do now.
Why do we have lesser hair now?
The hair on our body served many purposes and some of them was for our protection and survival. Before we evolved, it is believed that the hair on our species served as a shield to protect us from ultraviolet light coming from the sun. Hair also prevents or decreases the rate of evaporation of sweat and to a certain degree, it offers physical protection from cuts and abrasions.
On the planet of Kashyyyk -- Wookie’s home, the fictional planet in the Star Wars series is covered in dense trees and oceans. Most likely it would sport a very tropical vibe, meaning that the weather would be humid and hot. In comparison to Earth, the reason we don’t have thick hair anymore could possibly be due to the fact that over the years, since humans learned to be bipedal (walking on two legs), we began foraging for food during the day. Hunting and food gathering outside would have exposed humans to more sun, which generates a lot of internal body heat. So, having long hair all over our body while foraging could potentially lead to overheating.
Over the years of evolution, having lesser long hair all over our body has allowed us to stay under the sun for longer periods of time for more effective performance. Genetically, somewhere along the line of evolution, our genes have either mutated or evolved to allow humans to continue on without the need to grow long hair all over our body. Wookies however still maintain very long hair but can still survive on desert planets such as Tatooine, so perhaps they have evolved to be able to regulate their own body temperature better than us!
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- Wade N. Why Humans and Their Fur Parted Ways. New York Times. Aug 19, 2003. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/19/science/why-humans-and-their-fur-parted-ways.html
- Dávid-Barrett, Tamás, and Robin I.M. Dunbar. “Bipedality and Hair Loss in Human Evolution Revisited: The Impact of Altitude and Activity Scheduling.” Journal of Human Evolution 94 (2016): 72–82. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4874949/.
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