A recent fossil study has revealed critical information on why humans could have lost their body hair, which is still seen on chimpanzees – who are the evolutionary antecedents of humans.

Nina Jablonski, professor of anthropology at Penn State University presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston that humans shed hair on their skin to keep cool.

Around a million years ago, humans hunted and scavenged. This required continuous physical activity. The hair on their body did more harm than good by trapping the body heat. As this was no longer a beneficial feature, it slowly evolved to be skinless to more efficiently sweat away excess body heat.

Once man went hairless, the focus went towards beautification to attract the opposite sex, and gain leadership of clans. He started coating himself with various colors to look different – men to look rugged while women applied make-up to make their eyes look bigger and sexier.

The new study is a result of another research conducted on a fossil record, and an examination of the molecular history of genes that code proteins that help produce skin pigmentation.

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