Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Free Encyclopedia and 'Hairless' Apes

Without having done extensive checking, I would guess that Wikipedia is the only encyclopedia in the world in which the section on primate taxonomy includes nude photos of male and female humans with all their body-hair removed.

I suppose one could argue that body hair would obscure some portion of our typically primate anatomy, or make the photos appear less clinical. That said, none of the other primates pictured are shaven, so why the humans? And honestly, human's body hair doesn't hide that much anyway. As humans are naturally the least hairy of any primate, the clean shaven models seem to me to unduly exaggerate our distinctness from other primates. I don't approve.

On further consideration of the nature of Wikipedia, the inclusion of these photos could be intended purely to annoy social conservatives who object on religious grounds to the placement of humans among the primates. In that case the hairlessness would presumably be intended to emphasize the nudity of the models.

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