The Evolutionary Significance of Curly Hair

The tightly curled scalp hair of early humans served as a shield against the sun’s radiant heat, facilitating the growth of their brains to a size comparable to that of modern humans. This phenomenon may elucidate how early humans managed to stay cool while conserving water. Researchers employed a thermal mannequin—a human-shaped model powered by electrical energy to mimic body heat, allowing scientists to investigate heat transfer between human skin and the environment. By comparing total heat loss between lamp and base measurements, they determined the extent of solar radiation absorbed by the head. Their findings underscored the protective role of tightly curled hair against solar radiant heat, reducing the necessity for perspiration to maintain coolness.

Source:

https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2301760120

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