Why People of Different Climates Have Different Skin Colors

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In summary, skin color is not determined by temperature, but by the amount of sunlight and UV radiation in the environment. The body produces melanin to protect against UV radiation, resulting in darker skin in sunnier climates. The adaptation of producing less melanin in colder, darker climates is due to the decrease in UV radiation. Clothing and diet can also play a role in skin color, as seen with Inuits in Alaska having darker skin due to their diet rich in Vitamin D. The reason for dark skin among natives in Australia may be due to their recent migration to the area and the need for adaptation to get enough Vitamin D.
  • #1
de$per@do
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why people living in cold weather are white in colour?? and that of in hot weather are black in colour?
lyk European american etc are white and african are black in colour
 
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  • #3
Not sure how vitD plays into skin colour.

Read up on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_skin_color" . It is a pigment in the skin that, among other things, protects us from UV radiation. More sunlight means more risk of damage from UV, so the body produces more melanin. End result: a people in sunnier climes have darker skin.
 
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  • #4
DaveC426913 said:
Not sure how vitD plays into skin colour.

Combine dark skin and lack of light for half a year... Lack of melanin is an adaptation.
 
  • #5
Borek said:
Combine dark skin and lack of light for half a year... Lack of melanin is an adaptation.

Ah, I see.

Related true. But I didn't actually read anything in the vitD article that mentioned skin colour. The missing puzzle piece is melanin.
 
  • #6
when homo sapiens evolved they were exposed to a lot of uv rays in africa. Once they migrated to higher latitude the reduced amount of uv rays meant that humans had to adapt to these conditions which means less melanin (eumelanin) - light skin color

Europeans do produce melanin, just a different kind - pheomelanin

http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_skin_color"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanin"
 
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  • #7
Quesstion: beyond the change in location, did the amount of clothing required to live in northern climates play a role beyond just exposure to UV in general? After all, if you're swaddled in skins and furs, it's a bit of waste pumping out all of that melanin, but if you're in the savannah, it pays not to have to use as much clothing and depend on your skin tone.
 
  • #8
Even clothing and food would have played an important role. Maybe inuits (natives) in Alaska have darker skin due to their diet rich in vit d.

Question - can anyone give ideas - why natives(aborigines) in Australia are dark even though the southern part of australia, even tasmania has a temperate climate ?
 
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  • #9
cosmos 2.0 said:
Maybe inuits (natives) in Alaska have darker skin due to their diet rich in vit d.
I alwys figured it was because they are a relatively recent migration to the area.
But you're right; they wouldn't have been able to migrate into the area (and survive) without some sort of adaptation for getting enough vitD.
 
  • #10
DaveC426913 said:
I always figured it was because they are a relatively recent migration to the area.
But you're right; they wouldn't have been able to migrate into the area (and survive) without some sort of adaptation for getting enough vitD.
I was under the same impression, but they migrated from a similar latitude across the Bering strait (at least that's the theory) which means they were in similar conditions on the other side of pacific(and for how long were they there?).
I do not have any references for these.
 
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Related to Why People of Different Climates Have Different Skin Colors

1. Why do people of different climates have different skin colors?

People of different climates have different skin colors because of their adaptation to their environment. The amount of melanin, a pigment that gives skin its color, in a person's skin is determined by their genes. In areas with high levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as near the equator, people have darker skin to protect them from the harmful effects of the sun. In areas with lower levels of UV radiation, such as near the poles, people have lighter skin to absorb more sunlight and produce vitamin D.

2. How does the sun affect skin color?

The sun affects skin color by stimulating the production of melanin in the skin. UV radiation from the sun causes the skin to produce more melanin as a protective measure against sun damage. The more UV exposure a person has, the darker their skin will become. This is why people who live in areas with higher levels of UV radiation, such as near the equator, tend to have darker skin tones.

3. Are there other factors besides the sun that contribute to skin color?

Yes, there are other factors besides the sun that can contribute to skin color. Genetics play a major role in determining a person's skin color. People inherit genes from their parents that determine the amount of melanin produced in their skin. Additionally, environmental factors such as diet and certain medical conditions can also affect skin color.

4. Can a person's skin color change over time?

Yes, a person's skin color can change over time. As people age, their skin tends to become lighter due to a decrease in melanin production. Additionally, factors such as sun exposure, hormonal changes, and certain medical conditions can also cause changes in skin color. However, these changes are usually gradual and not drastic.

5. Is there a scientific reason for the diversity of skin colors among humans?

Yes, there is a scientific reason for the diversity of skin colors among humans. As humans migrated to different parts of the world, their skin color adapted to the level of UV radiation in their new environment. This is an example of natural selection, where certain traits become more prevalent in a population in response to their environment. The diversity of skin colors among humans is a result of this adaptation to different climates and levels of UV radiation.

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