Anthropology: Variation in Skin Color

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Old Dominion University Human Adaptation and Variation Alyssa Carlson 01005378 ANTR 110S_10772 Dr. Elva Smith 24 November 2014 Human biological diversity encompasses much more than the characteristics seen by the naked eye. Our species walked new and unique paths to arrive at our present existence. Our journey resulted in the achievement of many innovative and unique physiognomies allowing us to survive and reproduce. What characteristics have our species evolved and which most greatly shaped our evolution by conferring additional advantages in survivorship? Although there are many remarkable characteristics that have evolved the most striking…show more content…
We can acclimatize to a wide range of temperature and humidity. The nature of skin color distribution suggests an association with environmental factors varying with latitude. The association between dark skin color and a tropical habitat existed throughout the Old World due to the majority of the world’s dark skinned population residing in the tropics. The tropics are 23 degrees north and south of the equator. Humans and their ancestors have been inhabitants of that land for thousands of years until migration to all corners of the globe started to occur. As migration continued so did natural selection. Outside of the tropics, in locations such as the poles, skin variation is different due to the lack of sun and is quite obvious. Adaptation to lighter pigmentation may have been driven by a need to increase UV absorption for vitamin D synthesis at high latitudes. In addition, the pigment of the poles inhabitants did not change rapidly. Instead it was done by becoming acclimated to the environment. Acclimatization is another kind of physiological response to environmental conditions, and it can be short-term, long-term, or even permanent. Acclimatization is the physiological responses to changes in the environment that occur during an individual’s lifetime. These responses to environmental factors are partially influenced by genes, but some can also be affected by the duration and severity of the exposure. After
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