Body hair in mammals is typically thought to have evolved to keep us warm in colder prehistoric periods but in elephants it may do the opposite.  A new study contends epidermal hair may have evolved to help the animals keep cool in the hot regions they live in.

Low surface densities of hair can help dissipate heat but the biological and evolutionary significance of sparse skin hair is not well known. The authors of the new paper studied the effects of skin hair densities in Asian and African elephants on thermoregulation in these animals, and concluded that elephant skin hair significantly enhances their capacity to keep cool under different scenarios like higher daytime temperatures or less windy days. 


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