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Tonsorial Theory of Evolution

arrowheads are young by comparison.
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Humans are the only species whose cranial hair continues to grow throughout an individual's lifetime (if it doesn't fall out). Postulated is that this is directly responsible for our being at the top of evolution's ladder, towhit:

Early man was forced to grow a larger, more interconnected brain to deal with extrusions that continually blocks vision, gets caught in the brush, etc.

Furthermore, the first tool wasn't a flint arrowhead at all ! it was a hair-tie made out of grass or a twig (all of which have disintegrated in the millenia since, so (in)conveniently won't be found at any dig site).

FlyingToaster, Dec 05 2009

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       A very viable theory, but a theory none the less.   

       and... and what...
FlyingToaster, Dec 05 2009
  

       and...
[marked- for- transmographying- into- an- invention]
  

       Don't get me wrong. I like it.
It sort of makes sense, like my theory that smoking a pipe was one of the first jobs once we discovered fire, or my dinosaur extinction theory, but just like those theories, this one has grounds for deletion written all over it.
  

       Someone really needs to create a Theory-orium.   

       so... rename the post "Hang by your hair to increase mental power" then.   

       //smoking a pipe was one of the first jobs// I like that one.   

       ah, there we go.   

       Actually I am sortof curious as to how homo sapiens ended up with non-curtailed hair growth: what genes went into that and what were the other things they caused.
FlyingToaster, Dec 05 2009
  

       // my dinosaur extinction theory //   

       You dinosaur died on you, and you don't know why ? That's so sad ....   

       As to the idea itself, neutral as yet.
8th of 7, Dec 05 2009
  

       Doesn't hanging from your hair (and thus pulling it out) fly in the face of your theory? Wouldn't it make you dumber rather than smarter, or at least give that impression to anyone who walked in and found you hanging from hooks?
ldischler, Dec 05 2009
  

       What is brainpower?
Ian Tindale, Dec 05 2009
  

       well MY theory is that large upright predatory dinosaurs NEEDED to have stubby short limbs or they would self commit auto-cannibalism (ooohhh but they look so tasty, just a nibble, just a little nibble..) thus their limbs evolved out of reach and they were always ravenous.
WcW, Dec 05 2009
  

       Dear Mr. Toaster.   

       I am unsusually stupid, and so, I found your theory plausible. I constructed a Brainpower Increasing Device according to your specifications, and used it for 3 hours. Now, my head hurts like Hell, and I know that FlyingToaster is a joker who shouldn't be taken seriously. Viola! my brainpower has increased. Your invention works. [+]
mouseposture, Dec 06 2009
  

       since when was Hell capitalized?
WcW, Dec 06 2009
  

       What a hair brained idea!
outloud, Dec 06 2009
  

       The fact that we are the only species with cranium hair and opposable thumbs can't be a coincidence. I suggest our thumbs evolved out of a need to be able to use scissors to cut this cranium hair. If you hung yourself by the thumbs from these hooks, would your hair grow faster?
shudderprose, Dec 06 2009
  

       Hanging by hair causing an increase in brainpower is only an illusion. When you hang from your hair on a hook, your brain goes into a kind of panic state because of the pain and the fact that you're hanging from your hair on a hook. This panic state causes your brain to prioritize toward quick problem-solving and creativity, which can appear as an increase in brainpower.
Joolin, Dec 06 2009
  

       [WcW] <pedantry> Hell can be either a common or a proper noun; capitalization emphasizes its use as the latter, referring to a specific unique place (you'd capitalize Gehenna or Hades wouldn't you?) Sometimes this is just appropriate to context, and other times it reflects the writer's religious convictions. Compare "a pagan god" vs. "God the Father." However, the rules are apparently laxer with "hell": most of the dictionaries I consulted gave it uncapitalized in all meanings. Only the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary distinguished between capitalized and uncapitalized "hell." </pedantry>
mouseposture, Dec 06 2009
  

       [mp] within the context of your previous anno, I'd have to agree with [WcW]: "my head hurts like the place they toss evil Christians into" doesn't make as much sense as it's use as a compound adjective "like hell" used as a synonym for "awful".   

       "laxer" ?
FlyingToaster, Dec 06 2009
  

       [ft] True. I concede the point. I don't normally capitalize hell, but for some reason I did in this case, and I think I see the reason, now. The above exercise in pedantry has revealed to me that I'm an antireligious bigot. Drat. Gonna have to work on that.   

       laxer: more lax. Zeus knows what character flaws *that* reveals.
mouseposture, Dec 06 2009
  

       There doesn't need to be a use for cranial hair for it to have an evolutionary explanation - at least not one that has a "biological" explanation. Peacocks invest quite extravagant amounts of energy into having fantastic feathers that impede and slow-down the cocks - but these tail displays are so fascinating to the peahens that no self-respecting male could hope to mate without one.   

       Hair is socially very important to humans - it quickly signals to others what sort of social situation a person is currently in - it takes time and effort to effectively groom a head of hair, and so, this becomes a means to impress, to attract a mate, and to step a rung up the status ladder, and as such gain better access to otherwise limited resources.
zen_tom, Dec 07 2009
  

       //since when was Hell capitalized?//   

       Since Dubai lost favour as an issuer of sovereign debt. Capital's got to go somewhere, right? And all the money that used to be... has now gone to Hell. I though everyone knew that?   

       If you hurry, the Mephistopheles stock-broking partnership can still get you a piece of the action.
pertinax, Dec 08 2009
  

       It's all about the context, for example, Hell is a place (albeit one with unusual paving arrangements) and as such, deserves a proper noun in the same way as The Sahara, or Death Valley, or Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, hell is also other people, and so should be en-minuscule.
zen_tom, Dec 08 2009
  

       //There doesn't need to be a use for cranial hair for it to have an evolutionary explanation//   

       Hair was used in prehistoric times for ritual cat fights, which were conducted, generally, in mud pits.
ldischler, Dec 08 2009
  

       <tasteless joke alert>
Why did cave men hit cave women over the head and drag them by their hair?
Because if you drag'em by their feet they fill up with sand.
<t.j.a.>
  

       After four years of bending to peer pressure I finally decided that this isn't an mfd type of theory. So there.   

       That, and [2fries]' joke needed a bit of airing out.   

       (re-renaming the post and removing the "trying to make it an invention" overlay has borked a few annos)
FlyingToaster, Mar 17 2013
  

       I like it. I've a theory myself that cranial hair started growing during the cursorial-hunting phase of our evolution, so as to scare the prey animals more effectively.   

       A hair tie to put the hair further up would be nice. The posting and the annotations all fit in with my theory, so bun.
baconbrain, Mar 18 2013
  

       Interesting thought - what came first, sharpened tools that could be used to cut hair, or long hair requiring cutting? I posit the former. Some proto-human a few million years ago finds that certain types of stone when smashed, produce a sharp edge (this is pre-knapping, rather just fractured stone). Generational experimentation with such leads to all sorts of advantages, one of which is the grooming potential engendered by the ability to cut hair. Over time, the cranial hair adapts to being cut (most bodily hair will grow back once cut, to approximately the same length but over time adapts to grow back differently, sometimes coarser or longer) – and there is a reproductive advantage to the females and perhaps males, to being able to groom in certain ways. Eventually, selective pressure has preferenced faster growing cranial hair to the point of evolving long cranial hair in humans (and perhaps the lower prevalence of facial and bodily hair in females).
Custardguts, Mar 18 2013
  

       Which came first: the snicked ends or the dreads?
Ling, Mar 18 2013
  

       //I am sortof curious as to how homo sapiens ended up with non-curtailed hair growth//   

       From an evolutionary point of view, there doesn't need to be a direct fitness advantage. Sexual selection for arbitrary features is self-reinforcing unless they greatly diminish the individual's fitness (and even then, not always).   

       As for the mechanism - we're not really any different from any other mammal. Our individual hairs go through a long growth phase, then fall out while the follicle rests; it's just a question of how long the cycle is. Horses' manes and tails also have very long cycles, as do sheep's hair. There's also an eastern European vole whose fur seldom if ever falls out; instead, the over-long hair gets chewed off and used for nesting material. Captive specimens who outlive their teeth (but survive by being fed soft food) will suffocate if their coats are not clipped regularly.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 18 2013
  

       Shenanigans on the European Vole story: what does tooth length have to do with being able to remove facial hair ?   

       In a like manner, I'm sticking with my guns on the "hair tie" theory: while a sharp rock would handily remove head hair, using a twig or tie is a smaller step, being a simple emulation of brushing the hair out of one's face.
FlyingToaster, Mar 18 2013
  

       //what does tooth length have to do with being able to remove facial hair?// Not facial hair - body hair. They nibble excess hair off as they groom themselves.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 18 2013
  

       ah I see... in which case what does body hair have to do with suffocation ? (unless it's one of those "gold paint" situations)
FlyingToaster, Mar 18 2013
  

       "Suffocation" may not be the precise term, but basically they wind up with a huge and matted coat which limits their mobilty, prevents them from cleaning themselves, and probably also causes either overheating (in warm dry conditions) or hypothermia (if the hair stays wet).
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 18 2013
  

       If you care enough about your toothless vole to provide it soft food, you shouyld care enough to also give it a styling "up-do". Or braid the fur into vole dredlocks.
bungston, Mar 19 2013
  
      
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