Friday, June 11, 2010

Pre-humans in Africa evolved to beat the heat

SHOOT: Put in another way, early man evolved in Africa to stay cool. Some of us still are...
clipped from

JOHNS HOPKINS (US)—In the Turkana Basin of Kenya the average daily temperature has reached the mid-90s or higher, year-round, for the past 4 million years, which may explain in part why pre-humans learned to walk upright, lost the fur that covered the bodies of their predecessors, and became able to sweat more.

“The ‘take home’ message of our study,” says Benjamin Passey, assistant professor of earth science at Johns Hopkins University, “is that this region, which is one of the key places where fossils have been found documenting human evolution, has been a really hot place for a really long time, even during the period between 3 million years ago and now when the ice ages began and the global climate became cooler.”

The Turkana Basin is a rough, remote area around Lake Turkana, a desert lake in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya and Ethiopia in east Africa.

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