Latest news from Loughborough University in Leistershire, UK (18 April 2011): “Sweat research sparks evolution speculation”:
Research at Loughborough University to find out where athletes sweat the most has revealed surprising results (the cntral and lower back, near the spine).
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Discussions with colleagues with expertise in evolutionary biology raised a speculative explanation.
Prof Havenith said: “Our research records scientific data but asking ‘why’ raises an interesting question.
“If this pattern that we observe is a remnant from when we moved on all fours, before we walked upright, then sweating on the back would make sense.
One biologit commented, “Does this imply that human ancestors lost body hair (and started sweating) before we became bipedal? This would go counter to current thinking – which is that bipedalism was one of the first characteristics to evolve in the hominin lineage.”
Human ancestors (homonins) have been bipedal, we are told, for about 4 million years. If that wasn’t enough time to change the frequency of the sweat glands, Darwinian evolution is not much of a powerhouse. Alternatively, could there be some extra benefit to the lower abdomen in keeping a stable temperature?