Skin color dating

(“Loci associated with skin pigmentation identified in African populations,” 12 October 2017), elucidates the genetic mechanisms controlling human skin color and demonstrates that racial conceptions regarding skin color and its supposed marking of distinct groupings of human beings have no scientific foundation.

The traditional view has been that early humans had dark skin as an evolutionary adaptation to protect themselves from the dangerous ultraviolet radiation of the harsh African sun.

It is likely that the wide range of skin color variation originally evolved as small early human populations adapted to a myriad of local environments, influenced by many different selective factors.

The fact that 71 percent of the variation is unaccounted for by the genes identified so far strongly suggests that the genetic determination of skin color is even more complicated than the current research has disclosed.

Significantly, most of the variants, for both light and dark skin, were found to have originated in Africa.

So, it is likely that early hominins were similarly light-colored and that darker skin developed later, once they moved from forested areas onto the savannah.

The multiplicity of genetic controls over skin color means that there are no fixed categories based on this essentially superficial characteristic.

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Furthermore, this may not simply be an additive process.

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