Thursday, December 01, 2011

Global Skin Color

Here's the source of the map below and the explanation why it represents the the skin color of the indigenous people:
The twin role played by the skin – protection from excessive UV radiation and absorption of enough sunlight to trigger the production of vitamin D – means that people living in the lower latitudes, close to the Equator, with intense UV radiation, have developed darker skin to protect them from the damaging effects of UV radiation. In contrast, those living in the higher latitudes, closer to the Poles, have developed fair skin to maximize vitamin D production.


And it doesn't take that long for decedents' skin color to change:
for many families on the planet, if we look back only 100 or 200 generations (that's as few as 2,500 years), "almost all of us were in a different place and we had a different color."
If my more racist ancestors could see me now.

6 comments:

  1. Fascinating.

    By the way, I've composed thousands of words in response to a post from last week... but only in my head. I'm going to try to get the words down this weekend and send you a letter. :)

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  2. This is really interesting! Thanks for posting!

    -Madeline

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  3. It's interesting that the map you show is the *predicted* skin color. The map made empirically is interestingly different. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Unlabeled_Renatto_Luschan_Skin_color_map.svg

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  4. I don't know why that map it's slightly different to this one:
    http://evolution-textbook.org/content/free/figures/26_EVOW_Art/13_EVOW_CH26.jpg
    in Africa.

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