Author(s): Sutou S
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Three major characteristics distinguish humans from other primates: bipedality, practical nakedness, and the family as a social unit. A hairless mutation introduced into the chimpanzee/human last common ancestor (CLCA) 6 million years ago (Mya) diverged hairless human and hairy chimpanzee lineages. All primates except humans can carry their babies without using their hands. A hairless mother would be forced to stand and walk upright. Her activities would be markedly limited. The male partner would have to collect food and carry it to her by hand to keep her and their baby from starving; irresponsible and selfish males could not have left their offspring. The mother would have sexually accepted her partner at any time as a reward for food. Sexual relations irrespective of estrus cycles might have strengthened the pair bond. Molecular and paleontological dating indicates that CLCA existed 6 Mya, and early hominin fossils show that they were bipeds, indicating that humanization from CLCA occurred rapidly. A single mutation in animals with scalp hair is known to induce hairless phenotype (ectodermal dysplasia). Bipedalism and hairlessness are disadvantageous traits; only those who could survive trials and tribulations in cooperation with family members must have been able to evolve as humans. © 2012 The Author. Journal compilation © 2012 by the Molecular Biology Society of Japan/Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
This article was published in Genes Cells
and referenced in Human Genetics & Embryology