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Name: Mark
Status: other
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
Why do people have arm pit hair and what is it's purpose?


Replies:
Steve,

As always, to understand things that humans have in their anatomies but that have no apparent use [e.g., arm pit hairs] one needs to think about evolutionary forebears and look to closely related species for clues. Two levels to the response: the nature of those particular hairs and how they serve to help advertize your basic adult [post-pubertal] human condition, however masked by contemporary perfumes & deodorants. Hair is akin to fur but without the insulative properties, and comes in generally coarse & fine varieties. The particular coarse hairs which develop in the pubic area and in the armpits arise at puberty [clue #1]. Hair follicles in these areas have a type of sweat gland associated with them, called an apocrine gland, that begins to function at puberty and is widely associated with scent-communication via chemicals known as pheromones [clue #2]. Apocrine glands produce an otherwise non-offensive secretion that now appears to be homologous with animal sex-specific scents. Unfortunately its components are broken down by bacteria to form odors associated with dirty locker room smells. The arm pit hairs serve as extended surface from which these volitile chemicals can be more efficiently broadcast. Scientific data supporting the presence & effect of human pheromones have become more substantial in the last couple of years. Interestingly, perfume companies have recently begun playing up the nature of human pheromones!

Dr. Dinsmore


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