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New theory of why Europeans became white

The latest DNA analysis of around 7,000 years old male hunter-gatherer from Spain may shed some new light over the theory of why European's skin became lighter in color.

  Author: mat | Source: businessinsider.com | 28th January 2014  

In 2006 a skeleton of a male hunter-gatherer called La Brana 1 was found in a cave system in the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain. Recently scientists conducted a genetic analysis on DNA obtained from the tooth of La Brana 1 skeleton. The new discoveries came as a surprise as they show that the lighter skin tone of Europeans started evolving much later than previously thought.

Until now, scientists believed that Europeans lost dark pigmentation of their African ancestors as far as 40,000 years ago as they started migrating to northern regions with less sunlight. It was also assumed that the lighter skin was needed in heights so the vitamin D could be synthesized in places where there isn't as much UV light as in the tropics. Vitamin B is essential for absorbing calcium, to keep our bones healthy.

So what were allegedly the real reasons for lighter skin? To quote LiveScience ,"In the food-production theory, the cereal-rich diet of Neolithic farmers lacked vitamin D, so Europeans rapidly lost their dark-skin pigmentation only once they switched to agriculture, because it was only at that point that they had to synthesize vitamin D from the sun more readily." 

To summarize the La Brana's DNA analysis findings and the newest reason why Europeans have a lighter skin. It is due to the changed diet, when the hunter-gatherers became farmers and started eating more grains and not due to living in higher and colder regions.


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