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From the desk of
Ray Cecot

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Are We Really Hairless Apes?

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Darwin's Theory of Evolution. We've all heard of it, and many of us believe it unwaveringly. In fact, it has been hammered into our heads from childhood, even more so than religion. Television has brought us specials as to how man has evolved from the apes, magazine articles and books have done the same, so much so that there seems to be little doubt in scientific circles that evolution is the only way to look at things. But, in the words of the old cowboy,

"It ain't necessarily so."

Consider these unanswered questions:

  • How has man come to be bipedal, that is, walking upright on two legs?

  • If man is descended from the ape, why has he has lost most of the hair covering his body?

  • And where did our brain come from, with its capacity to think far in excess of our lower cousins?

  • Did you know that man is the only "ape" that has a subcutaneous fat layer? Why, so?

Apparently, science is at a loss to explain man's present day qualities. In her book The Scars of Evolution, Elaine Morgan discusses the very concepts which I, as a layman, find just as puzzling as the researchers in the field. Of the prominent ape species on this planet, the chimpanzee and the gorilla are closest to man, our cute little chimp being the closest. Yet, if we are so close to the ape, why is it that man has lost so many of the ape's characteristics? The following is information I was able to glean from Ms. Morgan's book in relation to my own thoughts on this vital subject.

Consider that the apes still retain their body hair, and for very good reason. Hair is actually a way to keep cool when exposed to hot sunshine, and also keeps the body warm during cool nights. So as a cooling and insulating agent, hair is perfect as far as the land mammal is concerned. Not so for water dwelling mammals. Dolphins, whales, walruses, etc. have a relatively hairless skin and subcutaneous fat layer that is ideal for insulating the body while in water. It is interesting that man has this subcutaneous fat layer, the layer just under the skin and attached to it.

Notice how, when picking up a cat by the scruff of the neck, you end up holding a large wad of skin. In other mammals, including our ape cousins, the skin is separated from the underlying muscle tissue. There is no fat layer attaching itself to the outer skin. The advantage being that in case of attack, the outer skin might be damaged as it is pulled away from the body, but the underlying muscle is protected. Wounds heal more quickly. In man, our wounds are more severe and heal more slowly due to our fat layer.

So, if man has descended from the hairy ape, why did evolution decide to make us relatively hairless? Certainly not for insulation purposes against the night air, or the heat of the sun. Was man at one time more aquatic than he is today? That is one of the theories, which, unfortunately, rubs against present day thought on this topic. Mainstream science leans toward the Savannah theory, that man came down out of the trees and entered the plains. He stood upright to detect enemies. Good theory, except that once an enemy is detected, to run away on two legs is far slower than escaping on four. Consider the Meerkat of Africa or America's own prairie dog. Both sit on their haunches upright scanning the area for predators, but once one is seen, they flee on four legs. Speed is of the essence.

It must have been a major benefit to our ancestors to decide to come out of the forest and stand upright. Evolution dictates this. Without any major advantage for survival, evolution does not take place. A simple fact, but hard to refute. In regard to the Savannah Theory, there are many items unfavorable to survival for man to come out of the trees, stand upright, and continue in a positive existence. Flight would have been more difficult on two legs; the chilly nights and warm, sunny days would have been impossible to bear after losing most of his body hair; the food supply on the plain would have been less adequate than in the forest; and somehow, the brain had to be spurred to develop in such a way that reason became more pronounced.

Then, what prompted so many changes in us, making us so different from the ape?

One theory is that a particular species of ape might have become landlocked in an area close to the sea. This would have forced him to wade into the water to seek food, such as crustaceans. The water would have forced him to stand more erect, simply to keep his head above it to breathe. Spending much of the day in the water would have caused a loss of body hair and the development of a subcutaneous fat layer. The more protein rich food would have added to the superior brain development.

This theory has some merit for it does, at least, try to answer some of the current development we see in man. However, there are mammals that have retained their body hair, and live a predominately aquatic life. One example is the sea otter. It has a fur/hair covering and spends countless waterlogged hours searching for food. However, the sea otter's fur/hair is the densest fur of any mammal with up to one million per square inch. (Most humans have 100,000 hairs or less on their entire heads.) The sea otter must also spend hours each day grooming itself, keeping its fur clean in order to maintain the fur's insulating qualities. Sea otters also stay warm by generating a lot of body heat. They have rapid metabolisms and require lots of food calories to fuel them. In fact, most sea otters need to consume about a quarter of their body weight in food every day. Subcutaneous fat is much more efficient as an insulator for large amounts of time in the water.

If the water theory for man's development is correct, why did we not go in the direction of more body hair instead of subcutaneous fat? If man lived near the sea, he most likely would have spent as much time in the water as out of it. Hair would have been far more beneficial for the time out of the water (blocking out sun and cold), and the part time he spent in the water (searching for food).

Evolution would have us believe that in a relatively short span of time, man went from the ape to what he is today. Even the evolutionists are beginning to find that their theory has far too many unanswered questions. So how to address the many questions? The easiest way is to ignore them. Look for facts that support your theory, rather than a theory that supports the facts. A poor approach to both science and investigation, but one that is being utilized on a gigantic scale.

Might there be a theory which can explain the quick change in man as he is today, his bipedal stance, hairless body, subcutaneous fat, and developed brain? Placing mainstream science aside, let us enter the area which science finds amusing, if not absurd. Naturally, I am speaking of the extraterrestrial hypothesis. This is not as humorous as it first appears when one takes a closer look at it. Once we dispel our narcissistic view of being the only life in the universe, the possibility of more intelligent creatures outside of Earth is far less laughable.

The Dogon tribe in Africa has a religious tradition which dates back thousands of years. It is not my intention to go into this in detail here. Thompson's book, The Sirius Mystery, is still in print and gives all the necessary background information for those interested. The points apropos to this discussion are that the Dogon have knowledge of the Sirius star system which only became known to modern science in the twentieth century. They claim that their ancestors were visited by a race of beings from Sirius, beings which have a fish-like appearance from the drawings the Dogons made.

Could a visit from a superior race of extraterrestrials have influenced the development of mankind? Might this same race have tried to genetically manipulate us to their own specifications? A fish-like race might have begun the development of our bipedal locomotion, our hairless body with a subcutaneous fat layer, our brain, and all the other oddities mankind has acquired. Fish-like mammals would have no need of body hair, might have walked upright on land, and had a subcutaneous fat layer for warmth.

Are we descendants of the Dogons?

 

Ray Cecot  

 
 

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