Re: Anyone disagree that body hair has sensory function?
It should be pointed out that there are some ethnic groups of Africans who don't have any body hair at all, not even the fine fuzz that most people have (that is, they have the normal concentrations of hair on the head, armpits, and pubic area, but none on their arms, legs, etc). I write this from memory, so I can't give a reference. I've also seen it for myself. They seem to get by without it.
Dang I was really hoping for a link. Depending on which group of Africans this is, could be evidence that body hair is not a vestige, at all, but more of an adaptation. For example if it was the Khoisan then this could be the case rather than if it was the Moroccans.
I'm curious if anyone here thinks the sensory function of body hair is inconsequential or lacks relevance to understanding it's evolution? Also, has anyone come across serious discussion of that evolution that includes due consideration for that sensory function?
I see where you are coming from, but No I do not think hair is an adaptation to better help with sensory functions. All I can think of right now is arachnids, and how they use their hairs for sensory information, but those hairs are placed in places to better serve that cause, like on the ends of their legs (spiders), or on the body to detect vibrations in still dark places (scorpions). The only Mammals that I can think of that use hairs for the purpose of sensory information are felines (whiskers). I know that the whiskers of a cat help with its equilibrium, and its ability to navigate when its superior vision cannot be used. Humans on the other hand seem to not have hair on there hands, and feet, nor whiskers. I realize this is a simple observation.
Dr Adequate, when you brush something across your body hairs -without touching the skin - can't you feel it?
Only if the brush if forceful enough to be felt at the skin level. Only if it vibrates to the root, otherwise you could feel dust landing on your hair.