Lanugo Hair

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Human Uniqueness Compared to "Great Apes": 
Likely Difference
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Lanugo Hair is a fine, soft wooly kind of hair that grows all over the human fetus and is typically shed just before birth and replaced afterwards by regular hair. Interestingly, lanugo hair is also found on some other new-born mammals such as seals and elephants, which like humans, do not have a lot of body hair as adults. Lanugo hair can also reappear in the uniquely human condition of serious anorexia nervosa. In contrast, great apes are born with a considerable amount of regular hair. Do great apes have lanugo hair in an earlier stage of embryogenesis?

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Timing of appearance of the difference in the Hominin Lineage as a defined date or a lineage separation event. The point in time associated with lineage separation events may change in the future as the scientific community agrees upon better time estimates. Lineage separation events are currently defined as:

  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and old world monkeys was 25000 thousand (25 million) years ago
  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and chimpanzees was 6000 thousand (6 million) years ago
  • the emergence of Homo ergaster was 2000 thousand (2 million) years ago
  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and neanderthals was 400 thousand years ago
  • the common ancestor of modern humans was 100 thousand years ago

Definite Appearance: 
100 Thousand Years


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