Adaptations to Heat in Africa

Anung97 writes: RL: “A small and compact body easily diffuses heat in a very hot environment. A large or tall body will not diffuse heat well and may well overheat in that environment.” If this is the case how come Sub Saharan Africans are tall and big? Shouldn’t they be small like us Indonesians? Or maybe they compensate by sweating a lot?

Not sure, but Blacks are a recent race. Negroids only appear in about the last 6-12,000 years or so in the context of agriculture. The genesis of the Negroid race is probably in the Sahel region, especially the highlands of Guinea. They then spread over the rest of Africa in a slow manner. The tall and thin Africans live in deserts (Somalis) or in grassy and hills plateaus (Kenya). The original Africans, the Pygmies, were indeed small and compact. The Bushmen are not very large either, and they are rather thin. Negroids have a number of heat adaptations. Excessive UV radiation during pregnancy destroys folic acid stores in the body of child, leading to birth defects. This is probably the main reason for melaninistic skin. The wide nose probably cools air it is breathed in, and it least it cols it more than a long narrow nose which probably heats it up. Black hair is perfectly adapted to heat. It absorbs heat well and allows sweat to run off. Straight hair might quickly become sweat soaked in extreme heat. Note that also Negritos, Melanesians and Papuans, all tropical adapted, have varieties of kinky hair probably retained from Africa. They probably moved out of Africa with kinky hair and saw no reason to get rid of it by moving to a tropical zone. If I am not mistaken, Blacks also sweat a lot more than Whites. Black people are very well adapted to heat in spite in the relatively large size.

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11 thoughts on “Adaptations to Heat in Africa”

  1. You have a pretty narrow definition of black/Negroid if it doesn’t include pygmies, bushmen or kenyans but I guess that’s just semantics. Do you have a source for the claim that pygmies are the first Africans (and by extension the first humans)? And since you appear to be an expert on this topic, please answer an extremely important question. Which race appeared first: Native Americans or North East Asians? J. Philipe Rushton brilliantly implied that races can be ranked from most to least evolved by their antiquity but one one should differentiate between races and sub-races.

    1. The Bantus or Negroids are not the same race as the Pygmies or the Bushmen..
      We can’t say which race came first because the NE Asians go back 45,000 years, but back then, they look nothing at all like the modern ones.
      It’s well known that Pygmies and Bushmen types are the oldest Africans, but Bushmen probably predate Pygmies. Negroids of Bantus grew out of Bushmen and Pygmies.
      Rushton is flat out wrong about the advanced races being correlated with their recency. The Bantus or Negroids for example only go back maybe 9000 YBP, while NE Asians go back 45,000 YBP.

      1. In my humble opinion, there are only 3 races: Negroids, Caucasoids and Mongoloids. Negroids are the oldest least evolved race, Mongoloids are the newest most evolved race, and Caucasoids are intermediate; the missing link between Negroids and Caucasoids.
        Now WITHIN the Negroid race, you also have 3 major subdivisions: capoids, congoids and australoids. The capoids are the oldest (least evolved) with a mean IQ about 15 points below the congoids.
        WITHIN the Caucasoid race you have two major divisions: whites and non-white Caucasoids. The non-white Caucasoids are older and have IQ’s about 10 points lower than the whites.

          1. I don’t really like to talk like that too much. Least evolved, most evolved, superior, inferior. Bah. It’s not that it’s not true, it’s more that it’s rude.

  2. What about head shape? I noticed from young age darker AAs and folks with more recent african ancestry have heads that are narrower but longer, and just beyond the neck (has exposure on all but one face- to release heat?). Look at Obama or some generic West African to see what I am talking about (AAs very, very rarely have it. Like I’ve known 1000s of Black folk and only one has had it)

  3. Great work. Do you know many adaptations for South American natives? In another article you mentioned the Amazon jungle dwellers have lighter skin as one. Andeans sure look different than Amazonians. Andeans had sophisticated agriculture with llamas and alpacas. The Amazon Basin was mostly hunter gatherers. A different continent but I like that Africans are grouped here.

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