Re: Cold Climate Human Evolution (recent)

Lemonhead (
Mon, 13 Feb 1995 23:08:51 -0600

> Why do people to Northern Europe have lighter skin, lighter color eyes,
> and lighter color hair. I can understand how people from warm climate
> need to have dark skin, dark eyes etc., but I could not find out how
> evolution would favor people with light features (as described above) in
> cold climate.
> Please understand this is strictly an academic question. The interest here
> is to understand the evolution --not difference between races.
> An answer from anyone will be greatly appreciated.
As I understand it, it's to aid the body in vitamin D production,
something it can only do with ultraviolet light from the sun. In the
northern climates it is also less sunny (obviously) so the skin needs to
absorb more UV light, so it's lighter.
In more light-profuse southern climates, not only is dark skin
helpful in protecting against sunburn, but it might also keep the body
from producing too much Vitamin D.

* Play along: * Kevin G. Karpiak *
* There is no wrong * University of Illinois *
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