Why do humans get “goosebumps” when they are cold, or under other circumstances? – Scientific American


Just a few days ago… Maybe even yesterday, I’m not sure.. An was getting undressed for her bath and she said she felt cold and had goosebumps all over. She made a remark about how goosebumps are useless at warming our bodies even though they were meant for warming our bodies. I remember saying to her that I think they do work… And she then said – yeah maybe a little.

And now I stumbled across this piece by Scientific American which states goosebumps are an evolutionary heritage from when human ancestors used to have much longer body hairs. When body hairs are long, goosebumps would raise the hair follicle so that the entire strand of each hair puffs up, thereby creating a layer of trapped air between the skin and the hair ends. It is this layer of trapped air that insulates and warms the creature.

Us modern human folk, well our bodily hair strands have evolved over time to be much too short for the goosebumps to make any difference to our bodily temperature that way. So nowadays the goosebumps don’t really serve the function they were meant to serve. But they are still good indicators of certain emotions or sensations.

It’s late now and An is already sleeping. I’m sure she’d be pleased to hear about the information from this article when I tell her about it tomorrow!


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