Friday, January 7, 2011

Why Black Hair is Curly, Kinky and/or Coily

The single biggest driver in human evolution was the challenge of matching the demands and capacities of our out-sized brain against the relative limitations of a weak physique. When researching the ‘whims of mother nature’, nothing is arbitrary. Sure, there are variances and distributions, but you can be sure that somewhere in the mix resides an objective mean – defining form and substance with a purpose.

Hair, like skin, is part of our genetically malleable, adaptable, outer layer, protecting us from the elements, the heat, cold, wetness, dryness, and utilizing the visible and not-so-visible light (energy) spectrum. Early primates and proto-humans had straight hair, which was an asset in low exertion foraging environs of ranging temperature, but not conducive to extending our physical endurance in the competition for food and survival, especially in mid-day Africa. Tightly coiled, moisture resistant head-hair created an enhanced barrier to ultra-violet (UV) radiation by turning many times on itself. This configuration also allows the release of perspiration droplets into a more optimal evaporative state whereby the droplets capture the heat of air moving around the coils before the perspiration rolls off and evaporates said heat away from the body. Presto! Cool scalp, cool brain, and greater endurance.

Conversely, straight hair was a liability, as it is more moisture absorbent, becoming heavy and causing it to stick to adjacent hair shafts and the scalp, effectively blocking the airflow required for heat exchange and dissipation. The straight hair of those precursors to modern humans would have made them less able to exert themselves for survival and advancement.

So with all due respect to Chris Rock, there is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ hair. Curly, kinky, or nappy hair adaptation meant survival and prosperity as a species, in the birthplace of humanity. Moreover, just as coiled hair and pigmented skin conveyed advantage in Africa, straight hair, and light skin adaptation did the same moving north, in logical ways and for discernible reasons (more on this later). .


credits: info found at www.curlynikki.com

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