Lately we have been observing a spike in racism related incidents since a couple of years. The fundamental question persist. Why do we look different? Is it due to the evolution process?
The answer is yes. In around 1835, Charles Darwin on his exploration voyage arrived on Galapagos island near Ecuador where he made a startling discovery. He observed different variations of a songbird called native finches. The Galapagos islands were a group of 13 island and he observed different variations on different islands.
On further examination, Darwin and his fellow associate were able to infer that the origin of the bird species was a type of commonly found finches in south America. However, the differences in their variations was due to a process which he coined as “natural selection”. To put it simply, “the fittest species will survive” and evolution will make sure that the traits which gives a particular species an advantage over others, will be passed through future generations.
Different islands had different food sources so for example, island which had large amount of ants ensured that the finches acquire sharp long beak with bigger claws so they can feed them easily over time and islands which had abundance of nuts led finches to evolve with larger beaks instead of longer to crack the nuts effectively. So, if a finch has larger beak on an island with ants, that finch will not be able to compete in feeding itself with finches having long & sharp beak. So, they will die and the “weak” genes lineage will be eliminated over time.
Similarly, our skin colour is another example of natural selection. Dark complexion is because of high amount of melanin. Melanin is a dark brown or black pigment produced by cells called melanocytes. It protects the skin from harmful ultra violet rays of sun.
UV radiation can cause skin cancer and melanin acts as a sunscreen by absorbing UV rays. People who live in tropical climate have more exposure to harmful UV radiation. As a result, they evolve with high melanin pigment in order to survive in the demography.
Reproduction ensures that the trait is passed to next generation to consequently increase their survival chances.
People living in cold climate do not need skin with high amount of melanin simply because they do not have enough exposure to sun rays. In such case fair skin (no melanin) acts as an advantage because it can absorb sun rays there-by providing body with enough supplement of vitamin D.
But how come native aboriginal people have dark skin even though they are living in a cold climate setting?
Well, that is because, most of them live in coastal areas where fish is a staple diet. Fish has high levels of vitamin D. As their body is rich with vitamin D, they produce melanin cells as a consequence.
Now-a-days, people with dark skin (high melanin) heavily consume fairness creams / practice skin bleaching that basically obliterate skin melanin in a quest to look “fair” & as a result jeopardising their own survival chances. What an irony!
The crony capitalist use this as an opportunity to exploit consumers as usual. Skin whitening products will have a 20 billion USD market by this year. Shameful.
Great post 👍