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Do apes sweat?

Question:

Do apes sweat?

Sweating:

Sweating is a bodily function designed to help an organism cool off. Water is secreted, evaporating and pulling heat off the body. It's an important, if not always appealing, evolutionary adaptation.

Answer and Explanation: 1

All apes, and in fact all primates, sweat. However, the process of seating is different among different species. There are multiple glands that produce different kinds of sweat, and the ones most common among apes are those that secrete water at the base of hair follicles. Because of how this sweat is created, it's very oily and the heat transfer takes place at the top of the fur, not at the surface of the skin. So, sweating is a way for many apes to cool down, but it's not as efficient as it could be and so many apes pant to stay cool as well.

There's one notable exception. Humans (Homo sapiens) have more eccrine glands than all other apes, which produce less oily sweat directly on the skin. This difference is because humans are (by far) the least hairy of all primates. With relatively little body hair, our sweat allows for heat transfer directly from the surface of the skin, which is much more efficient than transferring heat from the top of the fur or hair. This is why humans don't need to pant to stay cool; our sweat is very good at transferring heat. While the origins of this adaptation are still debated, many researchers think that a more efficient system of cooling helped us become more mobile, letting us travel and even run great distances.


Learn more about this topic:

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What is Sweat? - Definition & Function

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Chapter 13 / Lesson 15
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Learn about sweat. Read about the meaning of sweat and what sweat is in the body. Understand what sweat is made of and discover if urine and sweat are the same things.


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