Hypertrichosis seen in a young man
I got an email a while back and this post is in answer to that email but first here is the email with the name changed to protect the reader:
Dear Dr. Peron:
I realize you are an anthropologist and not a medical doctor but do you know anything about excessive body hair growth at birth? If so, can you put up a post about it? Here’s why I am asking you this question.
When I was born I had a reddish “fur” all over my newborn body. Probably it was hair but my grandparents described it as “fur” like that seen in a little monkey or puppy. I also had a projecting jaw that was corrected by orthodontics when I was about 13 years old, thankfully. I also had a somewhat flat nose and pointed ears. In fact, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. said I looked more like a ” baby ape” than a “human baby.” I lost the “fur” during the first few years of my life but retained a colorless hair type all over my body which kind of shines like a blond color when I am in the sun. I know this might all sound freaky but my family is reluctant to talk about this and my mother gets very angry and absolutely refuses to discuss it whenever I bring it up. Additionally, when my father arrived at the hospital (he was off somewhere and had to travel) he took one look at me and angrily said, “That’s not my son!” and stormed out of the hospital never to return. Needless to say he and I did not have a very good relationship when he was alive, unfortunately. I just want to know if you’ve ever heard of anything like this and if you can post a bit about it if you have.
Miguel I’m not claiming to be an expert in this subject but here are some things that might aid in your understanding of this phenomena. Also, note that things like this DO happen so you are NOT alone.
Before I begin let me define a few terms. First is the term “atavism.” An “atavism” is a term used in biology to describe an “evolutionary throwback.” Traits appear in a species or individual that have generally disappeared generations before. Atavisms can occur in several ways. One way, and the most common, is when genes for previously existing phenotypical features are preserved in DNA and they become expressed through a mutation that knocks out the overriding genes for the new traits OR makes the old traits override the new one(s). A number of traits can vary as a result of shortening of fetal development of a trait (neoteny) OR by prolonging of it (neoteny). In such a case a shift in the time a trait is allowed to develop before it is fixed can bring about an ancestral phenotype. I do not wish to insult you so please do not take what I’m writing that way. What you are describing comes closest to the ancient human ancestor species known as Homo habilis (aka: Tool Man, Handyman, et al) minus the heavy brow ridge. This species existed roughly between 2.1–1.5 mya. That in my mind is significant and if you have any pictures of you as a newborn with this condition I would be HIGHLY interested in taking a look at them. Continue Reading
WHAT A MESS!!!
That’s the Der Spiegel headline blasted out on the 19th of this month when they asserted that scientists do NOT know the real temp of planet Earth. The news agency said that the European Institute of Climate & Energy has warned that it is now clear that NO ONE REALLY KNOWS what the current average global temp is. And they also said that planet Earth is NOT WARMER and that scientific measurements do NOT make any sense!
In 1995 the average global temps was said to be 15.4 degrees Celsius but today global warming science says it is 14.8 degrees Celsius and this is a “new record.” A new record? So cooler now means warmer?? No these stats do NOT show global warming BUT what they do show (if accurate) is GLOBAL COOLING!!!
For decades now scientists assumed the average temp of our planet was 15 degrees Celsius but now suddenly they are saying it is a new record heat at 14.8 C for 2016. Continue Reading
As you know one of my favorite human species (or hybrids) are the Red Deer Cave People whose remains are found in two cave sites in China. These prehistoric human ancestors have been described as “highly unusual” due to some of their peculiar features and one of those odd features was their flaring cheek bones (zygomatic arches).
In Caucasian people these arches are extended outward the least while in Asians they are extended outward the most. In Africans the zygomatic arches are somewhere in between Africans and Caucasians. Returning to Asians, their cheek bones are extended outward the most and this is what we see in the Red Deer Cave People fossil remains. However, the extent to which these arches extend outward in the Red Deer Cave People are extended much farther outward than those we see in modern Asians. Also, extended zygomatic arches were also a feature of Homo erectus.
So what was the purpose for the great extension of the cheek bones? Some theorists have speculated that the highly extended cheek bones combined with heavy brow ridges were designed by nature to protect the eyes of the human ancestor especially during combat! The heavy brow ridges also helped shade the eyes from the sun so they may be on to something here. The Red Deer Cave People also had somewhat heavy brow ridges. Continue Reading
We’ve got a lot of 30-something males still living at home with mommy and daddy today. They don’t work and aren’t married and basically all they do is sit in the basement playing video games endlessly or engaging in some other recreational activity that one would expect to see a teenage boy doing. It’s as if these young men aren’t really men at all. Well….that is…mentally. They have the bodies of grown men but they have the minds of teenage boys and although they are sexually and physically mature they seem to still act like teen boys depending on their parents or grandparents (or someone else) to pay all of the bills, provide a roof over their heads, and supply massive amounts of food. This is a growing problem in America today especially among white males and although most are in their late 20s or early 30s there are growing numbers that are in their early to mid-40s!
There is a word for this “phenomena” and it is “Neoteny.” Neoteny refers to individual organisms who remain child-like even after they’ve reached sexual maturity. Although physically adults, mentally they retain their child-like mentality. These guys have the bodies of men but the minds and emotions of adolescents. “Children in adult bodies” is a good basic definition of Neoteny.
Biologically, an organism becomes sexually mature and an adult when it is capable of reproducing. When it enters into adulthood, then, the organism becomes physically mature. Human evolution has produced a variety of genetic changes in our species and one of the MOST IMPORTANT is neoteny. Humans are the most neotenic of all primates, in fact! Some have even gone so far as to characterize humans as “sexually mature fetuses.” And there are some reasons for this. For example, in most quadrupedal fetal animals the foramen magnum (where the spinal column connects to the brain) is near the center of the base of the skull as it is in modern humans. BUT, as that animal matures the foramen magnum moves to the rear of the skull. However, this doesn’t happen in modern humans! Our foramen magnum stays in the center….in the INFANT position!! Even in apes the young lose their neotenic features as they grow up and there are big changes in the way they look physically and act mentally. This is obvious in chimps, for example, as infants and the young look far different from adults. And they act far different from adults too. But, the position of the foramen magnum is not the only feature seen in modern humans that causes some researchers to characterize modern humans as “sexually mature fetuses.” Continue Reading
Neanderthal-Modern Human comparison
New research conducted by Australian National University and the University of Sidney is providing a new window into the transition between Neanderthals to H. sapiens. Excavating in a cave in the Moravian region of the Czech Republic researchers have developed a timeline of evidence from 10 sediment layers spanning 28-50 kya. This is the period when it is generally believed that modern human ancestors first arrived in Europe.
20,000 animal bones have been recovered at the site along with stone tools, weapons, and an engraved bone bead believed to be the oldest of its kind every found in Central Europe. Dr. Duncan Wright (ANU) believes this project is highly important because it is providing some evidence for modern human activity in the area. During this time modern human ancestors were moving into the area and, I think, interbreeding with Neanderthals at least to some extent. Continue Reading
So the most recent analysis of H. naledi found in South Africa puts this species as coexisting with modern humans. Why am I not hearing anything about attempts to gather DNA from some of these fossils? Surely if this species is so recent then there will be viable DNA. Just a question I’m throwing out there for your consideration.
“Neo” (Homo naledi)
Irhoud Skull 1 notice the large brow ridge
In 1961 the bones & skeleton were determined to be Neanderthal hunters. Neanderthals are not Homo sapiens, however. “the oldest Homo sapiens ever found in Africa or elsewhere.” Seriously? But Neanderthals are not H. sapiens! Of course after the OOA was debunked last month with the discovery of a Neanderthal ancestor in Spain I suppose they had to come up with something (anything) to place the OOA back on it throne? So I take it that now we class Neanderthals as H. sapiens? And what about that little 3% Neanderthal DNA in modern humans? Sticky little point, no? Oh yes and something had to be done to dethrone the recent find near San Diego in the Americas too 🙂
“It’s the face of people you cross in the street today…” really? You mean back in 1961 they couldn’t tell the difference between a Neanderthal face and a H. sapien face?
“….the 300,000-year-old braincases—the part of the skull that houses the brain—are elongated in shape and accommodate a larger cerebellum…” Homo erectus had an elongated skull but I notice this is not mentioned at all and some had brains as big or slightly bigger than ours!
So are we now to date modern humans at 300 kyr rather than 200 kyr? Are we to now include Neanderthals as H. sapiens? I’m willing to bet they found some sort of Neanderthal-Erectus hybrid but they aren’t about to admit that for God’s sake!!! Continue Reading