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Draft 41

Submitted by dfmiller on Fri, 12/06/2019 - 13:22

(excerpt from evo-devo creative writing essay)

In order to combat cold waters as well as the cold Eurasian winters, Homo lontra regained the full-coverage body hair previously lost in many hominid species. This loss of body hair is a well-documented phenomenon in developmental biology, and has been traced to inactivation of specific hair keratins. Keratins are an integral structural element of many epithelial appendages, such as hair, nails, and skin. Mutations to keratins can result in very clear diseased phenotypes in humans, such as complete alopecia or pseudofolliculitis barbae.4 It is probable, then, that a loss of function in a keratin gene may have led to the evolution of no body hair in hominid populations, and a gain of function of these now-pseudogenes may allow for the re-evolution of full body hair.