Is there any way for us to know what hair forms & how hairy prehistoric humans were?

Oct 2017
356
America ??
Since soft tissue, including hair, does not fossilise?

Is it safe to hypothesise that early humans would have more likely been frizzy rather than straight haired as that appears to be designed to disperse heat more effectively?

Btw This thread not need be genetic at all, it’s more structurally speaking.
 
Mar 2013
1,038
Breakdancing on the Moon.
One example I remember from archaeology, is that humans have developed separate lice for (head) hair and body hair. As in lice built for one type can't survive on the other type. This can give some indication as to how long we've been wearing clothes and to the development of our hair I guess/. Not sure about type.
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
Not necessarily what you are looking for, but some hair styles of ancient people have been preserved.

The Osterby Man for instance was a Late Iron Age bog body (just the head, really) that was dug out of a peat bog in Osterby, Germany in 1948. The hair was near perfectly preserved and tied up in a Suebian knot, a hairstyle described by the Romans.

 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,798
United States
One example I remember from archaeology, is that humans have developed separate lice for (head) hair and body hair. As in lice built for one type can't survive on the other type. This can give some indication as to how long we've been wearing clothes and to the development of our hair I guess/. Not sure about type.
My understanding is that hair loss is basically a side effect of the evolution of human sweating.

Human pubic lice is descended from gorilla lice. This doesn't mean our ancestors were getting down and dirty with gorilla ancestors, it has to do with the lice living in rougher hair of a particular type. They split from gorilla lice around 3-4 million years ago (Pair of lice lost or parasites regained: the evolutionary history of anthropoid primate lice) which probably means that enough hair loss to make a distinct pubic hair region had occurred by that point.

Other than that it isn't necessarily clear. One theory is that early human ancestors became active during the heat of the day to avoid predators (since they mostly rest during this time) which would have been associated with a better cooling system such as sweating, which requires thinner hair to work very well.

According to the persistence hunting theory championed by paleontologists like Daniel Lieberman Homo erectus behavior would have required them to be relatively hairless.

The brain is another important producer of heat which would require a good cooling system.
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,181
Lisbon, Portugal
Strands of hair from a human who lived 200,000 years ago have been found preserved inside fossilised hyena dung from South Africa. It doesn't appear to be the Afro type.



Human hair found in prehistoric hyena poop
It is presumed that Afro type hair developed much later in human evolutionary history, and very likely after the big Out-of-Africa event. Human that went out of Africa and populated the entire world probably already had wavy hair from the start, and Afro hair developed independently in many different places such as Central Africa, Southern Africa and somewhere in prehistoric Southeast Asia.
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,412
Australia
Strands of hair from a human who lived 200,000 years ago have been found preserved inside fossilised hyena dung from South Africa. It doesn't appear to be the Afro type.



Human hair found in prehistoric hyena poop

its cross section looks ovaloid . From what I remember from my old school anthropology, oval cross section hair is what makes it 'crinkly' or tight curly, and round cross section is straight hair .

What makes you think it is 'desnt appear to be the afro type ' ?
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,412
Australia
The subject was a problem for me back in Uni .... we where shown pictures (artists 'renditions' ) of supposedly how people looked .

I asked how that could be done from a jaw bone PIECE or some teeth ? I got a big rave, that made sense if you had a whole skull, but even then ... the shape and size of earlobes , the facial expression ???

Look , I said , and pointed , the older types have big floppy ears , curly hair (black ) and dumb expressions but the image of 'Cro-magnon man' (s there still such a thing ? ) , has neat little earlobes , clear blue eyes scanning the horizon, light brown straight hair blowing in the wind and a gaze out to the far horizon in heroic pose .... the sort of guy you wouldnt mind if he married your daughter .

Errrmmm , I wasnt very popular with the lecturer . ( I kept asking 'difficult' questions, apparently .)
 
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