Language, technology, culture, the big brain: these are the known differences between humans and other apes. Scientists are now adding a new difference: the Homo sapiens body uses water more efficiently. This difference may have played a major role in human evolution.
The human body needs 30 to 50 percent less water than other primates. This is evidenced by the first study that compared the amount of water people use and a number of other monkey species and replenish water daily. In total, the scientists examined 352 people – from farmers and fishermen to office workers – and 72 different species of monkeys.
If you reduce all the moisture a person consumes in a day with the amount of sweat and urine coming out again, the average person consumes about three liters of water per day. Chimpanzees and gorillas multiply quickly. It’s very striking, when you realize that humans sweat a lot more than other monkeys, and they are also much more active throughout the day. But the results leave no other conclusion open. studying Back In current biology.
Perhaps the difference in moisture consumption played a major role in the evolution of our species. After all, if you can stay without water for too long, you won’t have to be near rivers, lakes, or springs all the time. You can then discover new areas that may be very suitable for hunting or gathering.
Even if you could go without water for a little longer, lead researcher Hermann Bontzer explains, that must have been a huge advantage for our ancestors trying to build life in a dry savannah.
Less thirst or a stellar nose?
Now the next step for scientists is to discover how this more efficient use of water occurs. People could slowly be less thirsty. Babies also drink about a quarter less milk than monkey babies.
But the shape of the nose can also play a role. Unlike the flat nose of a monkey, our protruding nose helps cool and condense water (steam) in the air. This seems to allow us to conserve more water with each breath.
The young scientist Eugene Dubois discovered the missing link between ape and man at the end of the nineteenth century. On NPO Kennis do you see How this great discovery was forgotten in evolutionary biology.
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