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Thread: Loin cloths

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    Loin cloths

    This is a serious question: whenabouts in homo sapiens' 250,000-1,000,000 history did he start using loin cloths?

    Why did evolution confer on male humans that their most precious part for the continuance of the species, the testicles, be outside of the body and so vulnerable?

    Can totally naked humans survive, run and hunt, without a loin cloth ie without something to prevent the male member and testicles from over-moving during exertion, will they not be prone to testicular torsion, crush and damage?

    How did early male mankind survive disabling "jock-itch" ie the many sores, rashes, fungi and infections that will accrue to a damp, unwashed, sweaty male genital area?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Why did evolution confer on male humans that their most precious part for the continuance of the species, the testicles, be outside of the body and so vulnerable?
    Well, in terrestrial mammals it's because gamete cells don't form at core body temperature. Having them in a separate sack that can be pulled closer to the body, or kept farther away to regulate their temperature makes some sense.

    Ova don't form at core body temperature, either. The ovaries are kept at below core temp.

    I don't know how marine mammals do it. Whales and dolphins don't have external junk for hydrodynamic reasons. Presumably they keep their testes at below core temp. somehow, unless they've evolved less grumpy gametes.

    I also don't know how avians pull the trick off. Birds don't have joysticks, probably for weight-saving reasons, but they still have testicles.

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    Since this thread has a look of potential trouble about it, here's a reminder of what rule 3 has to say about adult topics:

    Same goes with adult topics -- talk about them somewhere else. If you do need to post something risqué, stick with arcane scientific terminology.
    If we're going to have serious and clinical dicussion about genitalia, let's stick that term and similar, without resorting to cutesy euphemisms...or worse. Keywords: family, friendly
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    Keeping in mind what PetersCreek just said, my personal opinion is loin cloths, and then cothing sometime later were likely an off shoot of wearing furs in winter for warmth. Hunters tended to notice that in winter when they wore furs, they tended to /not scratch/ sensative parts of thier bodies on thorn bushes.

    In warmer climates that led to loin clothes in the summer. In cooler climates, leather pants and shirts, replaced later by cloth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin View Post
    Keeping in mind what PetersCreek just said, my personal opinion is loin cloths, and then cothing sometime later were likely an off shoot of wearing furs in winter for warmth. Hunters tended to notice that in winter when they wore furs, they tended to /not scratch/ sensative parts of thier bodies on thorn bushes.

    In warmer climates that led to loin clothes in the summer. In cooler climates, leather pants and shirts, replaced later by cloth.
    and later on, sometime around the time of the evolution of the first Camaro, leather pants came back again..

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    Though I'm not sure, I think the use of covering may also be related to the fact that human beings are "in heat" constantly. There isn't really a need for modesty among most animals, because generally they aren't interested, and are terribly interested when they're interested. Humans, by contrast, are constantly sort of interested, so covering serves a purpose.

    But I have no idea when it started, and whether Homo Sapiens may have been wearing covering from the very beginning or not. I think that Neanderthals also wore clothing.
    As above, so below

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    Organic material does not preserve well so our knowledge is limited to lithic and sometimes bone artifacts. I know of needles dated to 30-40 RCYBP in Siberia. Amongst lithic assemblages it is common to find what are called end scrapers and side scrapers. These uniface or biface "tools" are assumed to be used for hide preparation. When it was that Hominids first figured out how to prepare and sew hides for environmental protection is unclear but the assumption is that at first it was in the form of wraps. This is a technology that had to be figured out, but my thought is that maybe the hide was first used for wind and rain protection. Then, when it came time for transport the easiest way to carry it was to wrap it around the body. Hide preparation is a fairly advanced technology, but my thought on that is that maybe a hide was tied to to poles for weather protection and was left there for a period of time and its conditioned improved. Speaking of tying, that is a complex technology as well that would not necessarily preserve well, i.e. knots. Someone was the first in all these technologies that nature did not obviously leave examples laying around for someone to mimic, it had to be conceived, experimented, and developed. Fascinating!

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    A similar question for the human female mammary glands: why are they so large and pendulous, more so than any other mammal?

    So much so, that unless they are supported or covered, they may actually deter lithe and quick movement, and become a handicap to the survival of the female of the homo sapiens species?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    A similar question for the human female mammary glands: why are they so large and pendulous, more so than any other mammal?

    So much so, that unless they are supported or covered, they may actually deter lithe and quick movement, and become a handicap to the survival of the female of the homo sapiens species?
    That may not have been true back then, diet and age are factors.

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    What the opposite sex finds attractive in the other has a lot to do with it. Probably a much bigger factor now than in the past, but we are emotional beings in addition to just survivalists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    A similar question for the human female mammary glands: why are they so large and pendulous, more so than any other mammal?

    So much so, that unless they are supported or covered, they may actually deter lithe and quick movement, and become a handicap to the survival of the female of the homo sapiens species?
    Somone (Desmond Morris in The Naked Ape?) postulated that mankind, unlike other apes, mates face-to-face, and that the development of human mammaries was to stimulate the previous interest in buttocks. I find that a bit of a stretch. For one thing, I've seen gorillas mating face to face in the zoo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    A similar question for the human female mammary glands: why are they so large and pendulous, more so than any other mammal?

    So much so, that unless they are supported or covered, they may actually deter lithe and quick movement, and become a handicap to the survival of the female of the homo sapiens species?
    I think it's fairly evident that lithe and quick movement was never the key to the survival of humans in the face of attack. I'm almost certain that the human strategy toward predators was either climbing into trees or (I think more likely) sticking together and using sticks and rocks to deter them.

    Also, just in reference to the mammary glands, you probably mean other primates, because I think there are ruminants that can have fairly prominent ones. But in any case, I think that human beings generally are better at storing body fat than other primates. There is surely a reason for it.
    As above, so below

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    I wouldn't know as I'm not a man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Can totally naked humans survive, run and hunt, without a loin cloth ie without something to prevent the male member and testicles from over-moving during exertion, will they not be prone to testicular torsion, crush and damage?
    Many other mammals and primates manage OK. And I'm fairly sure that there are still people today (or, at least, in historical time) who spend their entire lives naked.

    How did early male mankind survive disabling "jock-itch" ie the many sores, rashes, fungi and infections that will accrue to a damp, unwashed, sweaty male genital area?
    I assume (a) they washed and (b) the fact they didn't wear much reduced the chance of that sort of problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    How did early male mankind survive disabling "jock-itch" ie the many sores, rashes, fungi and infections that will accrue to a damp, unwashed, sweaty male genital area?
    I suspect early man suffered so much from tics, fleas, and other infestations so much, that this was a relatively minor problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I suspect early man suffered so much from tics, fleas, and other infestations so much, that this was a relatively minor problem.
    True, however we've barely scratched the surface of knowing Paleo lifeways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Also, just in reference to the mammary glands, you probably mean other primates, because I think there are ruminants that can have fairly prominent ones.
    I doubt they are larger in proportion to the animal's body, and, in any case, those domesticated ruminants have been subjected to prolonged artificial selection for milk production.

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    Leaving aside our secondary sexual characteristics for a moment, I believe that genetic studies of body, pubic, and head lice indicate that humans started wearing clothes something like 250,000 years ago.

    As for the other issues? If a male has never worn clothes, he'd either deal with the motion while hunting of his external genitalia or starve.
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    Unlike an animal, a human is aware that he is aware, and he cannot continue plodding along for long in an unthinking beast-like manner, whilst suffering.

    Humans suffering for generations and aeons miserably from ticks, rashes, infestations, jock itch etc will not survive long or be able to function or hunt or operate effectively with degarded morale.

    All these questions about the origins of human speech, clothing, fire, tools, diet, shelter, society, agriculture, medications, navigation, lifespan, population numbers, child rearing, burials, artifacts, skeletal remains etc makes one wonder if there really is something discordant about man's origins, and that humans have been around for less time, and were endowed with abilities and facilities right from their start, and not necessarily in a Catastrophist or YEC scenario.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlhredshift View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift
    I suspect early man suffered so much from tics, fleas, and other infestations so much, that this was a relatively minor problem.
    True, however we've barely scratched the surface of knowing Paleo lifeways.
    I bet you were just itching to use that pun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Unlike an animal, a human is aware that he is aware, and he cannot continue plodding along for long in an unthinking beast-like manner, whilst suffering.

    Humans suffering for generations and aeons miserably from ticks, rashes, infestations, jock itch etc will not survive long or be able to function or hunt or operate effectively with degarded morale.
    I doubt that. Even modern humans put up with a lot of suffering. I really doubt someone would starve because they were itchy.

    All these questions about the origins of human speech, clothing, fire, tools, diet, shelter, society, agriculture, medications, navigation, lifespan, population numbers, child rearing, burials, artifacts, skeletal remains etc makes one wonder if there really is something discordant about man's origins, and that humans have been around for less time, and were endowed with abilities and facilities right from their start, and not necessarily in a Catastrophist or YEC scenario.
    You might wonder that, but there is no evidence of that, there is evidence of many of these things developing over the long course of human and proto-human history (going back millions of years), there is evidence for some of these things among our living relatives (tool use in chimps being one example), and the idea that humans somehow were magically endowed with these abilities from the start makes no scientific sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Humans suffering for generations and aeons miserably from ticks, rashes, infestations, jock itch etc will not survive long or be able to function or hunt or operate effectively with degarded morale.
    Or they could have simply learned to live with it. You would be surprised at what you can learn to live with if you have to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Unlike an animal, a human is aware that he is aware, and he cannot continue plodding along for long in an unthinking beast-like manner, whilst suffering.
    Sure he can. We still put up with the "misery" of jock itch. And I think you'd be surprised how effective a hunter can be even with ticks. Think of it positively: the ticks can be a source of protein of last resort.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Unlike an animal, a human is aware that he is aware, and he cannot continue plodding along for long in an unthinking beast-like manner, whilst suffering.
    No, we continue plodding along while whinging about the pain, discomfort, and annoying itches. I could indulge in some, but I suspect my modern day, early 21st Century suffering is below the median level of suffering of the people who post on this board.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I doubt that. Even modern humans put up with a lot of suffering. I really doubt someone would starve because they were itchy.
    Humans are actually better at putting up with suffering and delaying gratification than most other animals, provided they know there's a reward at the end, so itching is not really a good argument. (BTW I'm agreeing with you Swift )
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Sure he can. We still put up with the "misery" of jock itch. And I think you'd be surprised how effective a hunter can be even with ticks. Think of it positively: the ticks can be a source of protein of last resort.
    Unless they give you borreliosis
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    No, we continue plodding along while whinging about the pain, discomfort, and annoying itches. I could indulge in some, but I suspect my modern day, early 21st Century suffering is below the median level of suffering of the people who post on this board.
    Mine is above, but I get by. With the aforementioned whining, of course. (My friends have suggested that I develop some kind of "safe word" so they know when I'm in more than background pain. I have assured them that they will know.) Based on some of the reading I've been doing lately (thank you, Mary Roach!), I would suggest that seeking out a bathing source of some kind would be a routine interest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Unlike an animal, a human is aware that he is aware,
    What evidence is there for this, ie, lack of self-awareness in other species? Whilst this was a commonly held view in the past, I think it was founded in prejudice rather than evidence. The more we study other species, the more the once-claimed uniquenesses of humanity evaporate into difference of degree rather than of nature. I suspect, actually, that without communication we have no way of knowing whether other species are self-aware. I don't particularly like dogs or have one, but what I see of them seems to suggest that they have humour, guilt, deceitfulness, awareness of being deceived, etc. So why not self-awareness?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Unlike an animal, a human is aware that he is aware, and he cannot continue plodding along for long in an unthinking beast-like manner, whilst suffering.

    Humans suffering for generations and aeons miserably from ticks, rashes, infestations, jock itch etc will not survive long or be able to function or hunt or operate effectively with degarded morale.
    On the other had, human intelligence and speech allowed them to rapidly find solutions: working in temas, division of labor, making clothes, better tools and weapons, treating disease and injury in various ways, cooking, domestication of animals, domestication of plants, Stabucks, etc. A gradual progression to what we now call civilized life.

    Note that some of these predate modern humans: many animals (including primates) will make shelters; many use "herbal medicine" (eating specific plants when unwell, for example), etc. So this transition from "dumb animal" to modern man has been a continuum all the way.

    All these questions about the origins of human speech, clothing, fire, tools, diet, shelter, society, agriculture, medications, navigation, lifespan, population numbers, child rearing, burials, artifacts, skeletal remains etc makes one wonder if there really is something discordant about man's origins, and that humans have been around for less time, and were endowed with abilities and facilities right from their start, and not necessarily in a Catastrophist or YEC scenario.
    It might make you wonder. It doesn't make "one" wonder; especially if "one" has studied these things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I would suggest that seeking out a bathing source of some kind would be a routine interest.
    My bold; I agree.

    We invented soap, why? (rhetorical)

    A preponderance of archaeological sites are next to or near water sources. This could be a result of preservation bias due to flooding providing the means of burial so that we can dig it up later, or because that is where people would settle. Drinking water is an obvious reason for being there, but there are many examples of animal use of water for essentially bathing purposes. For example, cattle will enter a pond or lake to gain relief from both heat and/or biting flies.

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