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What causes goose bumps?

17 Feb

1. What causes goose bumps?

Goose bumps (scientific name: piloerection) pop up when you’re cold or afraid. A tiny muscle at the base of each body hair contracts; together, they appear as naked bumps on the flesh. They made sense eons ago, when humans still had a natural "fur coat." Back then, fluffing your ruff would warm the body by trapping an insulating layer of air between the hairs. And standing your hair on end was intimidating to predators or enemies (picture a cat facing off with a dog). Evolution has since stripped humans of their pelts. Now goose bumps are, of course, no medical issue. If you’re uncomfortable showing off your vestigial physiognomy, dress warmly, place yourself in calm environments, and avoid horror flicks.

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Posted by on February 17, 2009 in Family

 

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