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June 09, 2003

Nakedness is a virtue

Most mammals are hairy beasts. Short article on what we and naked mole rats are up to; Gene/culture evolution seems an interesting idea.
Also, this NewScientist anthology loosely grouped on human nature, including Dennett on free will.

Posted by martin at 09:49 AM




I just wanted to suggest that godless, razib, etc put their e-mail addresses (with anti-spam modifications) on this site so that people who use can more easily contact them.
Beyond that, I wanted to mention that IMHO the "getting political" post provides evidence in favor of the PC suppressors of information. Even a site like this appearently attracts significant neo-nazi attention, and they come crawling out of the woodwork when someone mentions Israel. When such people are no longer numerous, or when their possible target audience, whites, are a minority, racial honesty will be a possible policy. Until then it will not be.

Posted by: michaelvassar at June 9, 2003 04:50 PM


Michael

A)Why did you post this here instead of in the post you a talking about?

B)Razib's E-mail address has always been available on the left-hand side-bar.

C)In addition to that there is a discussion board available where you can raise any topic you want ("go to discussion forum")

Martin,

I think humans have just as much hair as other animals, but it's in a very fine, vellum form.

Posted by: Jason Malloy at June 9, 2003 05:31 PM


True Jason-but certainly we expose more skin area no? I'm not an expert-but the "naked ape" thing does seem to cry out for explanation, and it seems the "aquatic ape" theory is dead-if it ever was alive. Also-i'm not sure where we stack up on fur density- i.e. hair follicles per square inch-I remember reading somewhere that sea otters have like 10 human heads worth of follicles in a square inch. I suppose we must be in line with other primates-but this info appears not to be readily googlable.

Posted by: martin at June 9, 2003 07:09 PM


I've corresponded with razib via email about this very topic - it's perplexed me since i was a teen.

i don't know if this is relevant to the discussion, but a few years ago a study was somewhat widely reported in the media stated that hirsute men were over represented in high IQ groups but i don't think the study was ever replicated. I have found next to nothing on the web about the study except for the blurb i quote below. The study may have been flawed, but since there isn't much info on it, you can't tell. Here it is:

"On Friday, 12th July there was an extraordinary article on the front page
of the UK daily newspaper 'The Daily Telegraph'.

HAIRY MEN ARE MORE INTELLIGENT, RELATIVELY SPEAKING

'Body hair is a sign of intelligence in men, a London conference of
psychiatry was told yestereday, writes Celia Hall, Medical Editor. Dr
Aikarakudy Alias, of the Chester mental health centre in Illinois, focused
his research on members of Mensa and medical and engineering students in
America and India. He found that 45 per cent of the American male
students were ''very hairy'', compared with 10 per cent of the general
male population. Doctors and other men intelligent enough to go to
university were much more likely to have hairy chests, the European
Psychiatry conference heard. Research in southern India and among 117
Mensa members produced similar results. Dr Alias acknowledged the widely
held perception that sweating laboureres were usually hairy, back as well
as front. But that was only because they took their shirts off in public,
he said. Men with a university education keep their shirts on. However, a
quick poll in Britain failed to reach an unequivocal conclusion.
Intelligent John Cleese has a lot of body hair, but super-intelligent Sir
Clive Sinclair does not. Richard Branson is ''fairly'' hairy, according to
members of his staff. Dr Alias, whose shirt was tightly buttoned, happily
accepted that his findings were not absolutely watertight. ''Albert
Einstein had no body hair at all,'' he said.'"

Maybe hairiness has made a comeback in humans because it has some sort of evolutionary benefit. The first Africans that left Africa and gave rise to all of humanity were in all likely hood "naked apes".

Posted by: the alpha male at June 9, 2003 10:34 PM


Hey, do you have a link to that article about hairy men being intelligent? I have some hairy men I'd like to send it to who I'm sure will be amused.

Posted by: Jacqueline at June 10, 2003 01:21 AM


I can't seem to find the original link where I found the story (almost 6 years ago). The Daily Telegraph has it in their archives here (you have to register): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/htmlContent.jhtml?html=%2Farchive%2F1996%2F07%2F12%2Fnhair12.html&secureRefresh=true&_requestid=30337

I also found some tongue and cheek discussions about it:
http://www.anatomy.usyd.edu.au/danny/anthropology/anthro-l/archive/july-1996/

(in the above site do CTRL-F: "Hairy chests sign of intelligence")


Posted by: the alpha male at June 10, 2003 11:32 AM


"...and it seems the "aquatic ape" theory is dead-if it ever was alive."

Aquatic ape theory has always been bogus, ever since it was formulated (by the same guy who wondered how telepathy factored into human evolution!).

The trollish poster "Fredrik" wrote here that anybody who ignored the "evidence" for Aquatic Ape Theory was a "fantasist", but the scientific and skeptical community all agree that Aquatic Ape Theory is pretty much a joke.


Posted by: Jason Malloy at June 10, 2003 12:41 PM


I happened to be the author of this study.
I am fairly certain that the vast majority of hairy/hirsute men, compared to the respective "much less" hirsute men of the same race and ethnic group, are strikingly more intelligent and/or educated, but only from a statistical point of view. If the skin lacks the androgen receptor, or the enzyme 5alpha-reductase that converts testosterone to DHT, but the brain areas do not lack them, say as in East Asians, then such men may not be appreciably hairy. Incidentaly, body hair and baldness are generally inversely correlated, and few would instinctively refute a suggestion that bald men may be more intelligent.
For example, Charles Darwin was bald and very hirsute while Eistein wasn't.
You may contact me, if you care to discuss more. I can send copies of some of my papers also.
A. G. Alias, MD, 15 Maryhill, St Louis, MO 63124.

Posted by: A. G. Alias at July 11, 2003 10:42 PM


I happened to be the author of this study.
I am fairly certain that the vast majority of hairy/hirsute men, compared to the respective "much less" hirsute men of the same race and ethnic group, are strikingly more intelligent and/or educated, but only from a statistical point of view. If the skin lacks the androgen receptor, or the enzyme 5alpha-reductase that converts testosterone to DHT, but the brain areas do not lack them, say as in East Asians, then such men may not be appreciably hairy. Incidentaly, body hair and baldness are generally inversely correlated, and few would instinctively refute a suggestion that bald men may be more intelligent.
For example, Charles Darwin was bald and very hirsute while Eistein wasn't.
You may contact me, if you care to discuss more. I can send copies of some of my papers also.
A. G. Alias, MD, 15 Maryhill, St Louis, MO 63124.

Posted by: A. G. Alias at July 11, 2003 10:43 PM