Enabling Humans To Harvest light As Food

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Enabling Humans To Harvest light As Food

Postby zetreque on March 14th, 2018, 1:00 pm 

Abstract

Present hypotheses to explain human hairlessness appear to be inadequate because hairlessness is not accompanied by any immediate benefit. A new, testable, hypothesis is advanced to explain our hairlessness based on photobiomodulation research, also known as low-level light therapy. This shows that red and near infrared radiation has a very beneficial effect on superficial tissues, including the brain. Random mutation/s resulting in complete hairlessness allowed early humans to receive daily doses of red and near infrared radiation at sunset. Photobiomodulation research shows this has a twofold effect: it results in increased mitochondrial respiratory chain activity with consequent ATP ‘extrasynthesis’ in all superficial tissues, including the brain. It also advantageously affects the expression of over 100 genes through the activation of transcription factor NFkB which results in cerebral metabolic and haemodynamic enhancement. It is also possible that melanin can supply electrons to the respiratory chain resulting in ATP extrasynthesis. These effects would start automatically as soon as hairlessness occurred resulting in a selective sweep of the mutation/s involved. This was followed by the very rapid brain evolution of the last 2my which, it is suggested, was due to intelligence-led evolution based initially on the increased energy and adeptness of the newly hairless individuals.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25703782

thoughts?
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Braininvat on March 14th, 2018, 1:12 pm 

Speculation on a very complex causal picture, seems like. Red light has also been linked to increased melatonin production which leads to longer and deeper sleep cycles. (it's why blue-light dominant screens cause insomnia, if not turned off a couple hours before bedtime) There could also have been selective advantages for hairlessness due to increased vitamin D absorption and more efficient cooling of epidermis that's more exposed to the breeze.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Serpent on March 14th, 2018, 1:42 pm 

What a disappointment! This doesn't get me enough closer to the chlorophyll- lined wings I've always thought would complete a perfectly designed body.

Seriously, though, if there is so much benefit to hairlessness, how come other mammals haven't developed it? What's the chronological relation of hairlessness with the invention of clothing?
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Event Horizon on March 14th, 2018, 8:19 pm 

Things in nature very often don't change unless something changes it. There will be an evolutionary pressure that weeded out hairy man in preference to hairless man, but whatever it was, it would seem to be lost to prehistory.

I think you may find forensic clues locked into our genes, if you know what you're looking for.

It could have been something as mundane as stoneage women preferring men with little hair. More hairless children would be born and so it goes on. If there was an evolutionary pressure to code for less hair it would be passed on if it was a dominant gene(s). Hairless people are under no evolutionary pressure to get hairy again it would seem.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby mitchellmckain on March 14th, 2018, 10:15 pm 

There have been one or more Scientific American articles on this. Here is one.
and here is another.

First it should be corrected that we did not lose our hair, but over much of the body the hair became less visible as thin short hairs. It should also be corrected that the evidence shows that this happened BEFORE clothing. This conclusion came from a study of the genetics of hair lice versus clothing lice.

What I remember being the reason for this change in our species is that is it had to do with becoming the running primate and using sweat glands rather than panting to eliminate heat.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Serpent on March 15th, 2018, 1:28 am 

mitchellmckain » March 14th, 2018, 9:15 pm wrote:What I remember being the reason for this change in our species is that is it had to do with becoming the running primate and using sweat glands rather than panting to eliminate heat.

Okay, that makes sense.
So, when they stopped running, they felt cold and figured out a way to fix the problem.
But so many other species run, either after prey or from predators, and yet do not have this adaptation.
Fur is not an effective insulator in water,

Tell this to an otter, or polar bear.
Humans, by virtue of being able to build fires, construct shelters and produce clothes, would have been able to lose their fur and thereby reduce the numbers of parasites they were carrying without suffering from the cold at night or in colder climates.

This one is a cause-effect reversal.
Our ape ancestors spent most of their time in cool forests, but a furry, upright hominid walking around in the sun would have overheated.

Lions and cheetahs manage.
The sexual attraction speculation is just silly. Women are not 'naturally' attracted to hairless men and do not 'naturally' want to remove their own body hair - fashion is a late cultural artifice.

I can't help suspecting it was an accident - perhaps linked to some trait that really conferred an advantage - that our ancestors learned to live with, compensate for, and eventually turn into an item of distinction.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby zetreque on March 15th, 2018, 1:32 am 

I was mostly interested in the ATP theory. Are human's unique in this ability to increase ATP activity from infrared light?
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby BadgerJelly on March 15th, 2018, 5:54 am 

Present hypotheses to explain human hairlessness appear to be inadequate because hairlessness is not accompanied by any immediate benefit


Is the aquatic ape not a reasonable proposition?

Anyway, interesting idea. Is your idea applicable to other species in some measureable way?
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Event Horizon on March 15th, 2018, 3:16 pm 

Hi Serpent. When I suggested less hairy males being more successful with females was me being a bit facetious. But it is not without precedent. The Vikings were able to win over British women not for their fighting ability, but because they were in the habit of washing, whereas the native men considered washing to be unnecessary and even dangerous.
Sometimes seemingly the most unexpected things have a huge effect. Even now, most women appear to prefer shaven men. Why? This is not as crazy as it sounds, it may be in our genes for some reason!

Edit: From a health point of view, it's a lot easier to keep a hairless body clean than a furry one.. This in turn reduces the chances of skin diseases and perhaps keeping early humans smelling better and looking better. It may have improved our fitness in a Darwinian sense.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby mitchellmckain on March 15th, 2018, 3:19 pm 

Serpent » March 15th, 2018, 12:28 am wrote:
mitchellmckain » March 14th, 2018, 9:15 pm wrote:What I remember being the reason for this change in our species is that is it had to do with becoming the running primate and using sweat glands rather than panting to eliminate heat.

Okay, that makes sense.
So, when they stopped running, they felt cold and figured out a way to fix the problem.
But so many other species run, either after prey or from predators, and yet do not have this adaptation.

Other species run better at short distances but because of our sweat cooling system we make the better long distance runners -- endurance rather than speed.

Horses are pretty good and it may be partially due to breeding them for the purpose. But in constant sun and warmer climates we have a big advantage. Thus humans routinely run 40 km marathons in a few hours and 100 km in a day, compared to horses which are generally limited to 20 km in a day. Hyenas are the next runner up, doing 19 km in a day. However in colder climates the balance shifts quite a bit as we lose our advantage, where huskies can do 100 km in a day (with human "encouragement").
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby zetreque on March 15th, 2018, 3:45 pm 

Event Horizon » Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:16 pm wrote: Even now, most women appear to prefer shaven men.



This is definitely cultural shift back and forth. We are seeing a rapidly growing move towards beards over the past 5 years and it's not just the men that are into it, I have female friends not just from my area but European countries that come to the US that are into facial hair right now.

The "Nazi" company I worked many years for also changed their grooming policy to allow for it due to demand.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Event Horizon on March 15th, 2018, 4:42 pm 

zetreque » March 15th, 2018, 8:45 pm wrote:
Event Horizon » Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:16 pm wrote: Even now, most women appear to prefer shaven men.



This is definitely cultural shift back and forth. We are seeing a rapidly growing move towards beards over the past 5 years and it's not just the men that are into it, I have female friends not just from my area but European countries that come to the US that are into facial hair right now.

The "Nazi" company I worked many years for also changed their grooming policy to allow for it due to demand.


Yes, it's true that there as a cultural/fashion aspect to body-hair. Why is it that most men and nearly all women go to great lengths and spend an awful lot on grooming? Why does it matter so much?

I don't think mankind spent so much time running around that evolution caused us to become hairless. What about all the time we were not running around and getting cold?

Why did we evolve to have hair in some places and not others? What purpose does it serve?
We are all mostly covered by fine hairs, male and female, we still have the follicles that don't appear to serve any purpose. It might be called vestigial hair I guess. I wonder if overly hairy people generally have more difficulty in attracting a mate? There's a research project for someone!

There has been an evolutionary pressure towards increasingly hairless people that seems to have its roots hundreds of thousands of years ago. There must be an advantage important enough for hairlessness to become pretty ubiquitous, but what it is might prove elusive. You don't see people living in Arctic conditions begin to regress to our furry early form, which is what one might expect.

Fashions and fads seem to be mostly transient, and I don't think they play an evolutionary role per se.

I still think health advantages probably drove the effect, being covered in fur that was all full of mud, dirt, blood, secretions and God-knows-what would have been very unhealthy, smelly and unattractive.

Just conjecture mind.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby zetreque on March 15th, 2018, 4:57 pm 

I actually think the aquatic ape theory has a little bit of merit. I don't fully buy into the entire theory but I think it's worth keeping an open mind for it right now.

I think sexual preference and culture are part of the story.
I think Vitamin D is part of the story and vitally important. Clear evidence of this is the color of skin and hair the farther away from the equator humans migrated and genetic changes to red hair and melanin found in part of the UK.
Clothing also helps explain the locations on the body. (I know of the lice study and that certainly helps support it before clothing but probably not the full story). So I think it also has to do with sweating in hot climates as another piece of the story.

What I'm interested in right now is this far infra red and ATP part of the story.

Put all of these things together and I think we can see a fuller picture of hairlessness.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Serpent on March 15th, 2018, 5:31 pm 

zetreque » March 15th, 2018, 3:57 pm wrote:I actually think the aquatic ape theory has a little bit of merit.

What percent of the ape population at that time had to spend much time in water? Over how many generations? What temperature of water?
I doubt a shaved muskrat would have any advantage over a hairy one in northern rivers, and I have to wonder why the platypus hasn't gone bald. I have grave doubt regarding that theory.
I think sexual preference and culture are part of the story.

Much later, yes - or at least maybe.
Why would pre-human apes care whether the male was pretty? Finches, yes, but even they have to prove themselves in competition for nesting sites. In apes, it's usually the strongest and most aggressive who chases the other males away; even if the females make a little extramarital whoopee, the big mean male fathers most offspring. I very much doubt 1. that female apes had the final word in mate-selection, 2. that the aesthetic sense of early hominids suddenly became so refined or 3. that exposed skin was a major factor in male attractiveness. A healthy coat is attractive in most mammals, and the transition from shagginess to nakedness can't have been all that palatable.

I think Vitamin D is part of the story and vitally important. Clear evidence of this is the color of skin and hair the future away from the equator humans migrated and genetic changes to red hair and melanin found in part of the UK.

Chemistry, I can credit. Whatever prolongs active life is a reproductive advantage.

Clothing also helps explain the locations on the body.

But I thought clothing didn't enter the picture until after the brain-growth-spurt, and by then the hair had thinned to a shadow of its former glory.

. So I think it also has to do with sweating in hot climates as another piece of the story.

That works for me. Maybe the sweat repelled the lice.

What I'm interested in right now is this far infra red and ATP part of the story.

That totally works for me.

The biggest problem is chronology. Some factors may be complementary, but in order to be cause-and-effect, they have to happen the right way around.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby zetreque on March 15th, 2018, 5:36 pm 

I'm not saying any single one of those is the answer. What I am saying is that they might all play a role in the evolution. These things often don't just happen where one day you wake up and don't have hair. There are epigenetic changes and mutations over a long time. Especially for a species that has migrated through "waves" around the continents.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Event Horizon on March 15th, 2018, 6:20 pm 

Why would we evolve to be hairless, only to have to go and clothe ourselves instead? Why didn't the hair grow back in freezing climates? I'm going to assume that Neanderthals would also have faced the same pressures, but by accounts I've read they were still very hairy? why should that be?
I think its likely, reading through this thread that there were multiple pressures. If the scalp and groin were covered by clothing, why does the hair remain? Having furry feet would seem to be advantageous in a world where we mostly wore sandals or nothing until Roman times. But they are not furry.
It's a puzzling thing, and I think perhaps an anthropologist might be able to pull it all together.
Clothing would negate the benefit of hairlessness in the acquisition of Vitamin D, and rickets is on the rise again. People are having to top it up with supplements. It doesn't seem to be an advantage in countries that require clothing.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby zetreque on March 15th, 2018, 6:25 pm 

Event Horizon » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:20 pm wrote:Why would we evolve to be hairless, only to have to go and clothe ourselves instead? Why didn't the hair grow back in freezing climates?
...
Having furry feet would seem to be advantageous in a world where we mostly wore sandals or nothing until Roman times. But they are not furry.


When you are wearing clothes or farther away from the equator, the less hair the more chance of getting vitamin D from sunlight when not wearing clothes. Because of clothing technology being readily available it may have been more important to synthesize vitamin D than grow hair back. It might have grown back somewhat and explains neanderthals etc.

If the scalp and groin were covered by clothing, why does the hair remain?

reproduction and genitals, at least in men are very vulnerable to temperature.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Serpent on March 15th, 2018, 6:48 pm 

There are epigenetic changes and mutations over a long time. Especially for a species that has migrated through "waves" around the continents.

Exactly!
That's why I mentioned the interim stages. Those females would have had, consistently, over thousands of years, to prefer the less hairy of two nearly identical scruffy specimens. Just can't feature it!
Besides, Greek, Armenian and Israeli men have no difficulty in that regard, and even a Scot in a kilt is expected to sport a respectable growth of leg-hair.
The preference, in America, in the last century or less, is - imo - a show of youthfulness, purity and virginity: a woman without body hair looks less threateningly sexual; in extreme waxing cases, pre-pubescent. Very much a culture-promoted taste. The young men have only recently begun to take up the fad - again, probably to evoke youth, innocence, boyishness. (This probably obtained in ancient Greece, as well - but those boys were not trying to appeal to women.) Plus, of course, the obsession with hygiene. They're not content to be clean - they have to be immaculate. This isn't about reproduction at all. (Though it's interesting.)

Event Horizon ---The Vikings were able to win over British women not for their fighting ability, but because they were in the habit of washing, whereas the native men considered washing to be unnecessary and even dangerous.

This is hardly a precedent for something that had to happen four million years earlier. Hairy Vikings could wash and smell better than either hairy or hairless Britons. Cats are cleaner than most people.
But... um... are you sure Vikings wooed the native women on equal footing with the local men? If they hadn't been better fighters, they wouldn't have been on the island to start with.

Even now, most women appear to prefer shaven men. Why? This is not as crazy as it sounds, it may be in our genes for some reason!

Be careful of generalizing a temporary local phenomenon to a global and permanent situation.
All the young male actors I see these days are neither bearded nor clean-shaven: they all have a cultivated three-day stubble. There is a setting on their razors to keep it so. It looks unfinished, scruffy, not-quite clean. Maybe young American woman are in the process of a reversal - identifying the unkempt look with masculinity.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby zetreque on March 15th, 2018, 6:52 pm 

Serpent » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:48 pm wrote:
There are epigenetic changes and mutations over a long time. Especially for a species that has migrated through "waves" around the continents.

Exactly!
That's why I mentioned the interim stages. Those females would have had, consistently, over thousands of years, to prefer the less hairy of two nearly identical scruffy specimens. Just can't feature it!
Besides, Greek, Armenian and Israeli men have no difficulty in that regard, and even a Scot in a kilt is expected to sport a respectable growth of leg-hair.
The preference, in America, in the last century or less, is - imo - a show of youthfulness, purity and virginity: a woman without body hair looks less threateningly sexual; in extreme waxing cases, pre-pubescent. Very much a culture-promoted taste. The young men have only recently begun to take up the fad - again, probably to evoke youth, innocence, boyishness. Plus, of course, the obsession with hygiene. They're not content to be clean - they have to be immaculate. This isn't about reproduction at all. (Though it's interesting.)


How about this situation. There is a segment of the human population that settles isolated from the rest for several thousand years. In their culture they develop sexual preference for certain features. Then thousands of years later those genes are reintroduced into the human population that leads forth to what we now know.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Event Horizon on March 15th, 2018, 6:55 pm 

Agreed, but on average the testes need to be 2 deg C lower than the rest of the body as sperm gets damaged if the testes get too warm. You may recall men being warned that wearing tight jeans etc. adversely affects sperm production and quality. Clothing is not necessarily very good for reproductive health.

It's a real shame that none of the other early hominids survived but us and Neanderthals. It would have made for some interesting comparisons. I'm beginning to think hairlessness might have been down to a mutation. If we searched our genome, we might find there is a gene or set of genes that can be turned back on making us hairy again.
I would also query that perhaps we make more testosterone than we once did. I am loosing the hair on my head, balding. I'll be happy when its all gone personally, as this partial baldness is neither one thing or the other. I'm looking forwards to a zero maintenance head!
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby zetreque on March 15th, 2018, 7:09 pm 

Back to the topic. I was just now speculating the idea that humans migrating north and making use of fire would benefit from the infra red put off by camp fires. Despite being in a cold climate wearing clothes, the infra red light might have benefited them at night around the fire through ATP activity? or even passing through clothing?

Not the best example for a website, but has the concept.
http://www.kaya-optics.com/products/how_it_works.shtml
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Serpent on March 15th, 2018, 7:13 pm 

zetreque » March 15th, 2018, 5:52 pm wrote:How about this situation. There is a segment of the human population that settles isolated from the rest for several thousand years. In their culture they develop sexual preference for certain features. Then thousands of years later those genes are reintroduced into the human population that leads forth to what we now know.

That would be okay if t 1. the hair loss occurred after cultures developed, rather than before (I don't think so!) 2. that isolated population came back as much advanced conquerors 3. or the majority of other hominids had died out in the meantime.
And we're still passing on the fact that there are far more important characteristics under consideration than appearance. No, I don't think fashion influences mating and reproduction; I think the mores and rituals of mating drive fashion.

I'm going with the Vitamin D.
PS any light that can penetrate a buffalo-hide can penetrate ape-hair a lot easier.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby zetreque on March 15th, 2018, 7:18 pm 

Serpent » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:13 pm wrote:That would be okay if t 1. the hair loss occurred after cultures developed, rather than before (I don't think so!)
This doesn't make sense to me. Sexual preference is a thing in many species.

2. that isolated population came back as much advanced conquerors
Not sure why that matters that much of you are conquered or the conquerors unless the conquerors had a very specific preference.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby zetreque on March 15th, 2018, 7:21 pm 

Serpent » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:13 pm wrote:PS any light that can penetrate a buffalo-hide can penetrate ape-hair a lot easier.


I'm going to propose that when around the campfire, there wasn't the need for so much (buffalo-hide) clothing. The ability to quickly remove and add clothing brings more flexibility to maximize the use of light for survival. Human ability to create fire could be linked to this ATP mechanism?
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest light As Food

Postby zetreque on March 15th, 2018, 7:44 pm 

Wikipedia has this image that is supposedly flame radiation. There are many theories as to how fire shaped human evolution and I speculate that infra-red wavelengths put off by fire would lend even more evidence to the case of fire. It seems like a mass of studies are coming out suddenly on the benefits of infra-red saunas including the treatment of Alzheimer disease.

Image
Yellow in this image is the visible spectrum.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Event Horizon on March 15th, 2018, 7:53 pm 

There is a question this provokes. Did hominids regularly use fire before or after they became hairless?
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby zetreque on March 15th, 2018, 7:56 pm 

Event Horizon » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:53 pm wrote:There is a question this provokes. Did hominids regularly use fire before or after they became hairless?

First, How do we define a "before/after" period of hairlessness? Was it a gradual change over how long, and has it changed back to more hair as mentioned with neanderthals.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest light As Food

Postby Event Horizon on March 15th, 2018, 8:27 pm 

Again, we need to shanghai an anthropologist to help make sense of this. Many suggestions here are plausible, but which ones are right? It's beyond me, and my degree was in Environmental Biology. We looked at vestigial organs and evolution and stuff, but we didn't cover hairlessness, its causes and consequences in man.
Very interesting discussion.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Serpent on March 15th, 2018, 10:59 pm 

zetreque » March 15th, 2018, 6:18 pm wrote:[That would be okay if t 1. the hair loss occurred after cultures developed, rather than before (I don't think so!) ]
This doesn't make sense to me. Sexual preference is a thing in many species.

Yes, but on what basis? How many other ape females regularly choose their mates by cosmetic surface detail rather than strength, virility and capability?
Civilized peoples do this, not wild animals. I don't think there are identifiable "cultures" any earlier than about 300,000 years ago. By that time, we'd have developed something close to our present appearance.

Not sure why that matters that much of you are conquered or the conquerors unless the conquerors had a very specific preference.

Only conquerors can impose their mores and customs and preferences on a majority population. If they had rejoined the main body of hominids as equals or inferiors, the hairless ones would have been subsumed and their peculiar sexual preferences would not have become the norm in the entire species.
Like the lost tribes of Israel didn't convert the Babylonians to circumcision and kosher food.
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Re: Enabling Humans To Harvest Sunlight As Food

Postby Serpent on March 15th, 2018, 11:05 pm 

zetreque » March 15th, 2018, 6:21 pm wrote:
Serpent » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:13 pm wrote:PS any light that can penetrate a buffalo-hide can penetrate ape-hair a lot easier.


I'm going to propose that when around the campfire, there wasn't the need for so much (buffalo-hide) clothing. The ability to quickly remove and add clothing brings more flexibility to maximize the use of light for survival. Human ability to create fire could be linked to this ATP mechanism?

Maybe. But where on the time-line does the brain-surge occur?
I would imagine that fire is a result of intelligence increase, not the cause of it. So whatever exposure to fire facilitated later on, considerable hair-loss must already have taken place.
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