Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Importance of Fur

I learned about an awesome animal today from The Dodo: Fuzzy Pigs!! Pigs are already adorable, but pigs with a curly coat are even more so. Fuzzy pigs look just like normal pigs except that instead of having lots of visible skin with bits of coarse fur, they are covered by a curly coat of fur reminiscent of a sheep's wool. These fuzzy pigs got me thinking. What if other animals whose skin was normally exposed. Imagine fuzzy rhinos, fuzzy elephants, fuzzy hippos, fuzzy lizards, fuzzy turtles or...fuzzy humans! I wonder what the world would be like if humans were born with fur.

If humans had fur, I am sure we would have thousands of fur care products marketed to us. Some types of fur would be considered more beautiful than others and then humans would do everything they could to imitate the 'better' fur. Maybe super curly red fur would be better than straighter white fur. So straight white furred humans would go to the fur salon to get it all died and permed.

If humans had fur, I wonder if we would think furry animals were less cute. Part of what makes a bunny or a kitten so cute is their furry. But if humans had fur, fur wouldn't be so cute. It would remind us more of the human condition. Maybe instead furry humans would think animals with skin were cuter. So we would all be oohing and awing of reptiles and pigs because they were so cute with their skin and scales. There wold be internet memes about lizards instead of cats.

I read an interesting article from the New York Times about why humans lost their fur. My favorite theory was that for a short while, humans were semi-aquatic. Just as whales and dolphins lost their fur to be more streamline in the sea, so did humans. Some support for this theory was the human hand. When humans spread out their fingers, there is slight webbing between the fingers. I love this theory! Imagine a world where humans evolved to live only in water. We would have under water fortresses and pet sea turtles and dolphins. We would make up stories about the strange things that must happen on the land.

The more plausible theory posed by the New York Times article (and the theory the article was primarily about) was that humans lost fur due to fur dwelling parasites like louse. Without fur, the louse could not survive and we were parasite free. Bare skin became a desirable sexual and evolutionary characteristic because it proved the mate did not have parasites.

In all this discussion of fur, there has been no mention of another way animals bodies are covered......feathers! To compensate for the lack of feather talk, here are pictures of chickens in all their feathered glory!

  These chickens I met at a festival several months ago. Any festival that has farm animals is a festival I want to go to. Chickens are such pretty little creatures. I always feel a bit bad for them. They had the good luck to be born a bird, but they can't actually fly. To have wings and to not be able to use them seems so sad.... an unrealized dream, the exclusivity of that which is right there. 


Laurie Duncan said...

Those furry pigs are adorable! Glad to hear that they were saved from extinction! :)

Amber said...

Oh, I know! They are so cute!