The Evolution of Human Skin

Ideally, it is possible to categorize and characterize human beings according to the color of their skin. The human skin also visibly adapts to various conditions such as temperature and exists in a number of variations over a specific species. This particular variation is the reason for the increased research on the evolution of the human skin. This essay will examine how the human skin evolves as well as the factors that lead to such evolution.

Many scholars are in agreement that the main cause of variation in human skin pigmentation is genetic modification. Today, unlike 3 to 2 million years ago, humans do not have bipedal hominin body hair in order to facilitate effective reduction of body temperature through sweating. During the time period of the Homo Heidelbergensis, the earth faced a huge drought that forced the early man to migrate into arid and semi- arid parts of the world to look for food. This particular move meant that the early man was exposed to the sun ad ultra violet B radiation. Although ultraviolet radiation is essential for the synthesis of vitamin D, over- exposure means leads to health issues such as skin damage. Therefore, it is correct to assume that this exposure to direct sunlight led to the skin of the early man evolving in order to protect him from skin damage.

Additionally, the evolution of the early man to hairless skin was as a result of the development of melanin. Melanin is adaptive, meaning that it normally increases or reduces in the skin depending on exposure to sunlight. The principal role of melanin is to prevent tissue damage of the skin due to exposure to direct sunlight. Research has proved this theory by establishing a correlation between ultraviolet levels and skin reflectance. Results have shown that the most correlation was about the absorption point of ox- haemoglobin, and this implies that melanin reduces the impact of UV. Essentially, melanin operates as a chemical and optical filter that attenuates radiation through scattering whilst absorbing the compounds that have been produced photochemically.

In conclusion, the human skin is highly adaptive and this can be observed in the diverse community in which we live in. For instance, research has revealed that females are generally more light skinned in comparison to their male counterparts. The genes that are responsible for human coloration are passed down from one generation to another, resulting in the diversity exhibited by the human skin in the contemporary world.