Diversity and evolution of human eccrine sweat gland density.

Affiliation

Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

The human eccrine sweat gland is central to the evolution of the human genus, permitting an enormous thermoregulatory sweating capacity that was essential to the human niche of high physical activity in open, hot, semi-arid environments. Despite a century of research inventorying the structure and function of eccrine glands and the physiological responses of human heat acclimation, we do not have a clear understanding of how intraspecific differences in eccrine density affect thermoregulation. Similarly, existing data does not comprehensively catalogue modern human diversity in this trait, nor do we understand the relative influences of evolutionary forces and phenotypic plasticity in shaping this diversity.

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