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Why do humans have different skin tones?

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People’s skin color depends on where their ancestors lived. Scientists have proposed many theories to try to explain how different skin colors in humans are formed, but none of them are completely convincing.

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The color of the skin depends on a chemical called melanin. The more melanin in the skin, the darker the skin. People with light skin spend a lot of time in the sun, and a lot of melanin is produced in the skin, in other words, the person is sunburned. People with albinism don’t have melanin in their skin, their skin is usually pink, which is actually the color that blood shows through colorless skin. Usually, people with albinism also have white hair. So people with albinism have white hair since childhood.

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The genetic characteristics of skin color is one of the indicators of ethnicity. Now the mainstream view is to divide the race into three categories: Europa (white), Mongolian (yellow) and Negros-Australian (black). However, there are still large differences in skin color within the three major ethnic groups. For example, Europeans include Europeans, Arabs, and Iranians, of which Europeans have the lightest skin color. The Mongolian race includes people from Central Asia, East Asia, and South East Asia, and the residents of South East Asia have significantly darker skin colors. NIGRO – Australians are also often divided into black and brown. In the NIGRO ethnicity, North Africa is relatively light-skinned, and southern Africa is darker.

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Melanin is the umbrella company of the skin. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can burn the skin and even cause skin cancer. Melanin, like sunscreen, absorbs ultraviolet rays from the sun, protecting the skin from further damage. The more melanin in the skin, the darker the complexion and the better the ability to absorb ultraviolet rays.

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The effects of ultraviolet light on the skin have provided powerful clues for scientists to explore the evolution of human skin tone.

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The ancestors of great apes from Africa were once covered with soft fur that acts as a barrier to ultraviolet rays. Over the course of tens of thousands of years of evolution, the body hair gradually disappeared. Although no one knows why this change occurred, the smooth skin was indeed exposed to intense sunlight.

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Because melanin protects the skin from UV rays, darker-skinned people are more resilient than lighter-skinned people. As a result, darker skin tones were passed down from generation to generation, and human ancestors living in Africa evolved into the black people they are today.

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However, as the human range gradually expanded northward, they found that the weather here was much colder than in Africa. In Europe, for example, the light here is much weaker than in Africa – especially in winter. This climate poses new threats to their survival. Moderate UV exposure helps the body make vitamin D, one of the essential elements of the human body and is essential for the healthy growth of bones. Light intensity in European regions is low, and the amount of ultraviolet rays in sunlight is also low. The first humans to arrive in Europe may have suffered from rickets due to high levels of melanin in the skin, which hindered the absorption of moderate amounts of UV rays. The symptoms of rickets are soft bones, deformed, and easily broken.

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So in Europe, the survival rate of light-skinned people is higher. Likewise, light-skinned skin is passed down from generation to generation. In winter, light-skinned skin allows UV rays to be effectively absorbed by the body through the skin. But in summer, when the sun is strong, the sun prompts the skin to produce more melanin, which prevents sunburn.

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Today, humans are found in all corners of the world, and their skin tone reflects the climatic conditions around the world: in low-light Scandinavia, the inhabitants have the lightest skin tone; in more sunny areas, the skin is golden or light brown; and Aboriginal people living in Africa and Australia have the darkest skin. In recent years, with the rapid development of transportation, people can move freely around the world. The result is several mixed skin tones of different skin tones.

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