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Advantage of being white?

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  Quote Teup Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Advantage of being white?
    Posted: 10-Feb-2005 at 09:58

Now we all know richly pigmented skin and dark eyes are more resistant to sunlight. So that's why people are black in Africa (no, they haven't been burned by chariots of sungods ). Ok. But what about being white, and light eyed. What is the advantage? Why not just be black as well? After all, the sun shines 12 hours a day on average in every spot of the planet, and it may be colder in europe, but being blinded by a low sun isn't all that either .

Brown eyes were first, and still blue eyes developed (even though brown eyes are dominant genes). Why?

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  Quote Rava Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Feb-2005 at 10:32
Originally posted by Teup

Brown eyes were first, and still blue eyes developed (even though brown eyes are dominant genes). Why?

Ask God why made this improvment.

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  Quote Teup Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Feb-2005 at 10:43
I don't think he's a member
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  Quote Infidel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Feb-2005 at 11:04

I think it has to do with the weather and the locations. Hence the genetical differentiation. Same thing, why do asians have those stretched eyes or the indians red skin?

About advantage or disadvantage, I don't know. I just see it as diversity.

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  Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Feb-2005 at 11:55
Light skin is very widespread (not just a Euro thing), and allows for more vitiamin D production in latitudes where sunlight is less intense.

Light eyed, crap knows, though most 'whites' are actualy brown eyed. Light eyes are more sensitive to light, if that offers any sort of benefit.

Dominant genes just mean that if there is one dominant and one resessive in a pair, then the dominant one wins. If both parents have the ressesive trait, then there is a possibility that it is passed on.
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  Quote Teup Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Feb-2005 at 12:13

Ok, the vitamin D part makes sense. Still to be figured out is the light eyes then.

I knew about the dominant genes, that's what made me wonder. Because (I believe) humans started off brown eyed, and then they seem to have developed light eyes, even though brown eyes are dominant.

More sensitivity to light may be an advantage, but the sun shines everywhere just as much (on a year's average), the only difference is the angle, which is smaller in the parts with light eyes, suprisingly to me - because you get blinded by that more easily (and also the reflection on snow (where applicable) is a force to be reckoned with, as it causes snow-blindness).

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  Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Feb-2005 at 12:20
Maybe it helped people to hunt in the winter when there were fewer hours of sunlight at northern latitudes?
Not only is the angle different, but the intensity is lower, that light is spread out over a larger area, try it with a football and a narrow beam torch.

Maybe it was just a random fluke (but then, why so many different types of light eyes - amber, blue, grey, green etc.)?
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  Quote Bosnjo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2005 at 16:55

Consider how many Red Haired Whites would survive, 3 months in the quator Area.

But why have the Whites, different hair colours (Red, Yellow/Blond, Brown and Black) and all others have only black Hairs.

 

 

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  Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2005 at 17:18
If you look closely, you notice thaat others do have different hair colours, same for eyes. Europeans don't have a monopoly on that.
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  Quote Bosnjo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2005 at 18:13

Yes some Nuances but instead black, dark-brown, but not from Red to Brown or from Black  to  Blond.

 

Do you know, that a lot of Persians have, blue eyes and blond hair if they are children and with the progress of the adolescence they got darker and darker until they look like, a mix of Blacks and Whites.

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  Quote lennel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2005 at 18:27

The light factor on eyes seems strange.  If you think about it the darkest places year-round would probably be deep jungles and rainforests.  To me it seems the best explanation is isolation where genes can spring up, without re-assimilation.  Over time you get diverse areas.

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  Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2005 at 18:30
I have yet to meet a Persian who looked like a 'mix of black and white', the two tend to be quite distinct looks.
Very light browns and shades of red can be found in the middle east and central Asia, light browns and hints of naturaly red can even be found in India (though Indian women love henna, so its hard to spot the naturals), as well as, as you mentioned, the light hair to dark hair thing which is the norm in Europe.
Such things are not continent bound.
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  Quote Exorsis C Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Feb-2005 at 04:50

Light eyes are more sensitive to light, if that offers any sort of benefit.

The benefit may be, like Cywr wrote, that it probably made it easier for people to see in the dark during the winter. In most parts of Scandinavia we get at the most 7 hours of daylight, or less, per day at wintertime. Some parts don't get any daylight at all. So in order to be able to survive people had to learn how to see in the dark. I guess that is one possible explanation to why we have light eyes.

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  Quote Teup Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Feb-2005 at 10:16

The winters may be darker, but that still means you get very long days in summer, and the more north and into the mountains you get, the greater the danger of snow blindness, and as lennel pointed out, rain forests etc. must be alot darker. The beams spread out like Cywr said, but I don't think that compensates this all the way. A low sun is also more annoying when you've light eyes. So maybe it is just a random genetic difference because of some degree of isolation, although I wonder why many people consider blond and blue eyes attractive (to me it seems it has some biological benefit then).

I did hear all babies are born blue eyed. But I don't think I believe that...

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  Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Feb-2005 at 12:08
A low sun is also more annoying when you've light eyes.


How do you know?

although I wonder why many people consider blond and blue eyes attractive (to me it seems it has some biological benefit then).


Many people find brown eyes attractive, and many find green eyes attractive, there are alot of factors at play here, many social.
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  Quote Teup Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Feb-2005 at 15:09

Originally posted by Cywr

A low sun is also more annoying when you've light eyes.


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  Quote Bosnjo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Feb-2005 at 20:05
Originally posted by Teup

1. ... although I wonder why many people consider blond and blue eyes attractive

2. ...I did hear all babies are born blue eyed. But I don't think I believe that...

1. It is something special, what the most people do not have

2. Yes that is true, but have all babies blue eyes or only white Babies?  Because the Turks/Mongols/Tartars have as babies blue asses

 

The Question remains why have only the Whites, lighter Eye and Hair colour, why not Eskimos... is this because the Whites live much longer then they in the North?



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  Quote Teup Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Feb-2005 at 12:57

yeah, that's what I figured, I can't imagine black babies being born with blue eyes (though it's not impossible).

Weren't the Eskimos (Inuit for nitpickers) up there first? Hmm nice point though, I think this is because both peoples are adapted in different ways - they're, on human scale, rather unrelated, and have both developed different features (uninfluenced by each other), to cope with the environment. So in the end they're both adapted but according to different strategies. That's my best guess..

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  Quote Serge L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Feb-2005 at 20:59

Actually, there is still not 100% agreement among physical anthropologists about the causes for different skin pigmentation in humans

The most commonly accepted theory is the one Cywr mentioned: sunlight would dictate the skin tone by two mechanisms: light skins in sunny climates are affected by sunburns and higher frequency of skin cancer; dark skins in less sunny places would not be able to sinthetize enough precursors of Vitamin D, so to cause skin and bone illness for the lack of this latter.

map of the world showing the distributiion of human skin color in about 1500 A.D.--darker skin colors are found mostly between 20 degrees north and south of the equator

Above is the famous map of human skin pigmentation collected by R. Biasutti for native populations prior to 1940.

We can certainly notice that, at least qualitatively, it seems to confirm that theory, since people with more intense pigmentation are predominantly located in the tropical/equatorial belt.

This scheme works very well for the Europe+Africa+Mid East+India Area.

It's worth to mention the fact that just above the tropics, where  sunlight dramatically changes during the year, people developped the ability to vary the skin tone by tanning. The ability to tan varies, and is particularly strong in the Mediterranean basin. Here follow some examples:

 

Maria Grazia Cucinotta (Actress, Sicilian)

Carla Collado Carla Collado

Carla Collado (model, Spanish)

Evelina Papantoniou Evelina Papantoniou

Evelina Papantoniou (Model, Greek)

[I confide these examples helped to keep my readers attention]

 

In the Americas (please remember, only Native Americans/Indians/Indios are considered here, not last few centuries immigrants), a milder version of that same pattern is visible. This can be explained with the fact that Americas have been inhabited for a lot less time than the old world, and you need many many millennia for natural selection to operate.

Please consider also that the advantage or disadvantage for having or not the right skin tone for a certain environment is just marginal, so adaptation has to be rather slow.

However the Est Asia-Pacific region is quite puzzling. Most places in this area have been inhabited for very long time, and yet 1) Malaysians and Indonesians, while darker skinned than other East Asians, are not as dark as other peoples living at the same latitudes; 2) Australians aborigens are nearly as dark as Africans . . . but they are too at South! How comes they did not lose pigment? 3) most East Asians are approx. pigmented the same way, even though they live at fairly different latitudes, and certainly should have had the time to adapt.

It's certainly strange that, if extreme skin depigmentation (with the probably useless but genetically linked hair and eye blondism) is so useful to live in the North of the planet, it never diffused in Asia.

It's also peculiar that, even where blondism is common, it always co-exists with brunet and intermediate types. If it's necessary to be blond or red haired, blue or grey or green eyed, why is not everybody so?

Well, more recent studies put in evidence that, while light skin do suffer when exposed to intense light, the correlation between little light and need for depigmented skin is less strong.

For instance, the a/m inuits (eskimo) are certainly relatively dark-skinned for their environment: however, they eat a lot of fish, seals and other animal food that supply them of the necessary D vitamin.

Moreover, it has been proven that a dark-skinned person who lives in Scandinavia, while not being able to produce enough D vitamin during winter time, can produce a lot of it during summer, and since D vitamin endures for long time in the organism, the summer-produced reserve is more than enough for the whole year. That, of course, providing that that black person is exposed to sunlight for enough time during summer.

In other words, the problem of dark skins in low-sun places can be overcame by culture.

But then, where does European blondism (as well as the incipient blondism that can be found in other neighbouring populations, like North-Africans, Mid-Easterners and even Indians, as Cywr mentioned) comes from?

Well, some researchers suppose it's just a mutation (a sort of mild albinism) that, for some not well known genetic reason, is common among so-called Caucasians. 

Without check it would tend to spread since all Caucasians and near-Caucasians where blond, pale and blue-eyed; however, sunny environments keep it under control

Where the sun is not so scorching, fair and red heads have no problems (and even a mild advantage at generating D vitamin), so they spread, but always mixed with black or dark brown haired and eyed people, whom the selective pressure is not able to eliminate.

 

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  Quote Degredado Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Feb-2005 at 19:54
There is this theory that accuses agriculture (and the subsequent change in diet) of the difference in skin color.
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