7

votes

Do Hunter-Gatherers Go Bald?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 05, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Are there studies or documentations of balding in hunter-gatherer populations, or is this another problem that has risen in recent times?

0e2772604bdb3627525b42d77340538b

(953)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

BAMBAM - I've noticed this too. The same can be said for Mexican men - but that's the whole American Indian thing too.

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on October 15, 2011
at 01:43 AM

BTW, don't get hung up on that "reproductive age" limitation. That's only one of evolution's little tricks to enforce the same rule: elders must go and make room for the young. Thats the only way to guard against monocultures limiting diversity. It's for the sake of evolvability.

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on October 15, 2011
at 01:39 AM

I can take this up in another thread and prove it, if folks are willing to sit through a long thought experiment.

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on October 15, 2011
at 01:37 AM

Evolution has EVERYTHING to do with it. We are thermodynamically open systems, not closed system that inevitably go entropic over time. How old does a tortoise get? Why does it live that long? Why does a mayfly only live for a day? (well, okay, maybe all year including the juvenile & egg stage, but you get the idea.) If we weren't capable of unlimited healing, our genes would get less and less healthy from one generation to the next. That doesn't happen, so we ARE capable, but evolution selects against it.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on October 15, 2011
at 01:22 AM

Yeah... after WWII... after we dropped a couple atomic bombs on them.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:53 AM

Evolution has nothing to do with organisms that are beyond reproductive age or what happens to them after they reproduced. Evolution is about maximizing your ability to pass your genes on to the next generation. Anything after that is bonus for you, but inconsequential for evolution. However, if old age helped ensure the survivability of the young (like in humans), then that would be a trait that could be selected for thru natural process and ensuring old people died is anti-reproductive.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:42 AM

This is probably linked to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) receptor activity in the hair follicle. In a related example, when people use anabolic steroids, the body tries to regulate itself by increasing DHT synthesis (as well as estrogen, but that's another issue) which is what causes hair loss (on the head), body hair growth, acne (sebaceous gland activity), and other "androgenic" effects. Also, Propecia, the "anti-hair loss drug" is a DHT blocker.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:41 AM

This is probably linked to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) receptor activity in the hair follicle. When people use anabolic steroids, the body tries to regulate itself by increasing DHT synthesis (as well as estrogen, but that's another issue) which is what causes hair loss (on the head), body hair growth, acne (sebaceous gland activity), and other "androgenic" effects.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:20 AM

.........oh god

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:13 AM

It's probably because they are Asiatic . Asians are the racial group least likely to lose their hair. Also notice they have very little facial and body hair

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on July 06, 2011
at 09:49 AM

probabably not...

D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca

(1453)

on July 06, 2011
at 01:28 AM

You've never seen one with a beard, either.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:24 AM

texasleah, you DO have a way with words. I am going to zip my mouth (and keyboard) and let my imagination run wild with that one :)

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4111)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:01 AM

and signals sexiness too. nothing like a man that can rock the bald!

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on July 05, 2011
at 11:45 PM

Ha!........................!

8a3fdcbbec724506de15c14bb6271264

(435)

on July 05, 2011
at 05:52 PM

I'm not sure about hunter-gatherer populations, but I do know balding is seen in our closest primate relatives - the bonobo.

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11 Answers

9
Medium avatar

(19479)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:06 AM

do-hunter-gatherers-go-bald?

Maybe not bald but definitely "receding"

do-hunter-gatherers-go-bald?

(Just for comparison)

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:20 AM

.........oh god

8
D5798f881431946f831a8e90ae3a6e7b

(88)

on July 05, 2011
at 11:38 PM

I'm sure it is just a visual signal to others of strong leadership abilities and wisdom in adult males. ;)

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4111)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:01 AM

and signals sexiness too. nothing like a man that can rock the bald!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:24 AM

texasleah, you DO have a way with words. I am going to zip my mouth (and keyboard) and let my imagination run wild with that one :)

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on July 05, 2011
at 11:45 PM

Ha!........................!

6
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on July 06, 2011
at 07:05 AM

As I am quite bald (at 32), I always say it is a sign of advanced evolution: apes have lots of hairs, normal humans not that much, me even less.

I don't know if someone believes me...

4
A31b063c5866c08aa9968a8f2f1e9949

(1721)

on July 05, 2011
at 11:57 PM

The better question is "Can a diet that emulates a hunter-gatherer one help my hair return?" :)

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on July 06, 2011
at 09:49 AM

probabably not...

2
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on July 06, 2011
at 08:41 AM

from here: http://www.longecity.org/forum/index.php?app=forums&module=forums&section=printtopic&client=printer&f=241&t=41785

"While genetic factors seem to play the principal role in the development and progression of androgenic alopecia, lifestyle also plays a minor role as demonstrated by the vast increase in male and female pattern baldness in Japan after World War II. Pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) was either rare or non-existent among hunter-gatherer societies." And it links back to a Loren Cordain study on Pubmed. Hyperinsulinemic diseases of civilization: more than just Syndrome X.

The article should be available from Loren Cordains website

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on October 15, 2011
at 01:22 AM

Yeah... after WWII... after we dropped a couple atomic bombs on them.

1
8caffe4dea631347b447e9f4e12fb2da

(589)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:48 AM

As my father once always says grass doesn't grow on a busy street. That's why I shave my head, My wife says it's artificial intelligence.

1
226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on July 05, 2011
at 11:54 PM

Plenty of pictures and portraits of ancient tribes of Native Americans. I've never seen a single one rockin' the toilet bowl action on top.

0e2772604bdb3627525b42d77340538b

(953)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

BAMBAM - I've noticed this too. The same can be said for Mexican men - but that's the whole American Indian thing too.

D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca

(1453)

on July 06, 2011
at 01:28 AM

You've never seen one with a beard, either.

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:13 AM

It's probably because they are Asiatic . Asians are the racial group least likely to lose their hair. Also notice they have very little facial and body hair

Medium avatar

(19479)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:42 AM

This is probably linked to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) receptor activity in the hair follicle. In a related example, when people use anabolic steroids, the body tries to regulate itself by increasing DHT synthesis (as well as estrogen, but that's another issue) which is what causes hair loss (on the head), body hair growth, acne (sebaceous gland activity), and other "androgenic" effects. Also, Propecia, the "anti-hair loss drug" is a DHT blocker.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:41 AM

This is probably linked to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) receptor activity in the hair follicle. When people use anabolic steroids, the body tries to regulate itself by increasing DHT synthesis (as well as estrogen, but that's another issue) which is what causes hair loss (on the head), body hair growth, acne (sebaceous gland activity), and other "androgenic" effects.

0
93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on October 16, 2011
at 04:51 PM

Bump.

Let me add a crucial note to this discussion. The selfish gene doesn't care much about us as individuals. It cares about the bloodline. We're only temporary vessels for the bloodline. If it serves the bloodline better for us to die fairly young, the selfish gene that promotes earlier death will, in the long run, out-compete it's rivals who promote longevity. The gene DOES NOT CARE, so long as it gets passed on.

The accent here is on "in the long run". It's hard to see the effect if you focus on too few generations. But it is definitely an extremely important mechanism at work, deciding our fates as few other things do.

I assume baldness can play a role in bringing about senescent death, as it did with my dad, so I can bemoan that, but the selfish gene goes on its merry way, unconcerned. It's a sloppy, painful way to terminate life, but so are they all. Senescence is very deeply entangled in our genes, full of backup plans and safeguards to assure that we die. It is EXTREMELY important that we leave all, without exception, leave this earth. If there ever WERE to be an exception, that immortal individual would sire a growing monoculture of offspring, easy prey for a virus or parasite to come along wipe them out. In short, everlasting life is the kiss of death.

Weird, huh?

0
93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:30 AM

You guys need to understand that senesence is an evolved trait, keyed to the rate at which elder generations need to be disposed of in order to make room for the new. Evolution selects not only for the selfish gene, but also for the sake of evolvability itself. A faster turnover in generations allows faster genetic adaptation to changing environment.

My dad died of angiosarcoma of the scalp, worse than any skin cancer, caused by the same thing, sunshine on a bald pate. This would not be inconsistent with hunter-gathers, if they do indeed go bald, which I suspect they do. It's just another way of guaranteeing that the elders move on to happier hunting grounds, and leave the rest of us to carry on.

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on October 15, 2011
at 01:39 AM

I can take this up in another thread and prove it, if folks are willing to sit through a long thought experiment.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:53 AM

Evolution has nothing to do with organisms that are beyond reproductive age or what happens to them after they reproduced. Evolution is about maximizing your ability to pass your genes on to the next generation. Anything after that is bonus for you, but inconsequential for evolution. However, if old age helped ensure the survivability of the young (like in humans), then that would be a trait that could be selected for thru natural process and ensuring old people died is anti-reproductive.

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on October 15, 2011
at 01:43 AM

BTW, don't get hung up on that "reproductive age" limitation. That's only one of evolution's little tricks to enforce the same rule: elders must go and make room for the young. Thats the only way to guard against monocultures limiting diversity. It's for the sake of evolvability.

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on October 15, 2011
at 01:37 AM

Evolution has EVERYTHING to do with it. We are thermodynamically open systems, not closed system that inevitably go entropic over time. How old does a tortoise get? Why does it live that long? Why does a mayfly only live for a day? (well, okay, maybe all year including the juvenile & egg stage, but you get the idea.) If we weren't capable of unlimited healing, our genes would get less and less healthy from one generation to the next. That doesn't happen, so we ARE capable, but evolution selects against it.

0
19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on October 14, 2011
at 11:47 PM

In asian cultures, long hair is (or used to be) a symbol of old age (in men).

0
6869a1f2294b3a717a53645589a91d18

(1689)

on July 06, 2011
at 01:57 AM

weston price reported minimal balding among several populations, even in the aged.

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200251h.html

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