Quick Questions: Why Do We Get Goosebumps?

January 26, 2013 by NotReal1Fake  
Published in Hair

No, we aren’t talkin’ about the children’s horror books.

Goosebumps, also known as cutis anserina, are very common, and occur when we are cold, scared, happy, etc. Humans aren’t the only creatures that goosebumps. Many organisms get them. A very apparent example is the porcupine, which raises its quills when scared.

Where did goosebumps get their name? Goosebumps got their name from geese. When geese were plucked, they had tiny bumps where the feathers used to be. This was the origin of the term “goosebumps”.

But how do they occur? In humans, it is proof that we were descended from apes. Apes generally have somewhat thick fur. When they feel cold, they got goosebumps which made the hair follicle elevate, trapping a layer of warm air underneath. This way, they could stay warm when facing harsh weather or similar circumstances. Also, when the hair puffs up, the animal generally looks bigger, scaring away predators or competition. 

What muscles are behind them? The cold environment stimulates the little muscles near the hair follicles, making them contract and causing the hair to stand up.

Research by Canadian scientists has suggested that music may cause us to get goosebumps!

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