skin color and thermoregulation

Craig R Brockman (
29 Oct 1995 16:14:00 GMT

I am an anthropology undergrad, and I would like to do a paper on the
effect of skin color on thermoregulation. for my human adaptation class.
I have recieved some conflicting and some incomplete information and would
like some help in locating sources for this project. As for heat stress,
our text (Frisancho, 1993) states that skin color has no affect on
thermoregulation because in the infrared range, skin color has no effect
on reflectance. However, I was told by a very respected professor of mine
that in a humid environment, dark skin would increase surface temp so as
to raise evaporation rate. What I need is some opinions on this and some
research that I could use as a source (if it exists). For cold stress, in
1975, Post, Daniels and Binford published that during both the world wars
and the Korean War, it was found that fairer skined soldiers had a reduced
rate of frostbite than did darker skined ones. They also stated that in
an experiment, pigmented guinea pigs suffered greater tissue damage than
nopigmented guinea pigs of the same species. If you have any information
on further research in this field, ideas on the mechanism that produces
these results, or just general input, I would greatly appreciate your
Thanks in advance,
Reece Brockman