Saturday, June 09, 2007

Bald is Beautiful: Thoughts on Human Nakedness

24x17AS17The story of evolution is anything but linear. As we ascend the tree of life organisms reliably gain complexity and adaptability, but along the forking branches we find a variety of false starts, dead ends and anomalies. It took the blind watchmaker an awfully long time to pull us out of the water and place us on the sandy shore, and along the way she tested the durability of many bygone species whose fleeting existences didn't make the cut. Is humanity one such evolutionary third-stringer? Or are we perfectly suited for the challenges of natural selection? There's no easy answer. But when placed against other lifeforms human beings are stunningly unique. When compared to our closest natural relative, the chimpanzee, one can't help but ask - where'd our hair go? Nobody knows for sure, as the fossil record lacks clear evidence, however, the theories that have emerged tell a fascinating tale of what it is to be human.

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