We can thank the sun!
Each of us has a different relationship with that burning ball of gas, and it all comes down to how much melanin our body produces. It’s essentially our built-in sunblock, and some of us are born with a bunch of it and experience greater protection from the UV rays, and others, well, don’t fare so well midday in a tank top. But why is this?
While elephants roll in the mud and hippos evolved to sweat a sticky reddish substance that acts as a natural sunscreen, 1 2 humans have evolved a distinctly different (and much less messy) way of surviving in the sun; melanin.
We all have thousands upon thousands of years of evolution and ancestors to thank for the color of our skin. This amazing video from TED-Ed, written by Angela Koine Flynn, brings us through how melanin protected our ancient ancestors from the beating sun between the equator and the tropic of Capricorn, and the process that made it possible for us to live elsewhere on the planet.
Evolution will never not completely blow my mind!
Adapting to change is in our nature. And each of our bodies is a testament to the thousands of years of evolutionary history that have come together to make us who we are!
Our variations in skin color stem from an ancient desire to see, “What’s over there?” A question humans are still asking thousands of years later. 4
How do you think the world would be different if our skin wasn’t able to adapt to those location changes? What would you be doing right now? Would you even be here?
Stay open to possibilities!
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” — Albert Einstein
For more of our human history…
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- Kettlewell, Julianna. “Science/Nature | Hippo’s ‘Magic’ Sweat Explained.” BBC News, BBC, 26 May 2004, news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3749351.stm. Accessed 5 June 2018. ↩
- Hippopotamus | The Nature Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, www.nature.org/newsfeatures/specialfeatures/animals/mammals/hippopotamus.xml. Accessed 5 June 2018. ↩
- “The Science of Skin Color – Angela Koine Flynn.” YouTube, TED-Ed, 16 Feb. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r4c2NT4naQ. Accessed 5 June 2018. ↩
- “Map of Human Migration.” Genographic Project, genographic.nationalgeographic.com/human-journey/. Accessed 5 June 2018. ↩