Our hairlessness has become a source of what we think of as beauty, a reality validated in every National Enquirer article about a “wolf boy”. It also has widespread consequences for our health and quality of life. It is the reason for the origin of melanin (the compound that, when present, makes dark skin) in sunny regions. The production of melanin in cells is just under the surface of the skin evolved in Africa, along with our loss of hair. All of our ancestors produced melanin and so were dark skinned, but when some of our ancestors moved out of hot climates, melanin blocked too much sun. At least a little sun on the skin is necessary for our bodies to produce vitamin D. Dark-skinned individuals in sunless places suffered rickets. The died, and so, with time, pale-skinned genes were favored, not just once but several times independently, with the northward migrations of humans. In other words, the variety in our skin color would not exist were our skin not exposed in the first place by our lack of hair.
- Rob Dunn, from The Wild Life Of Our Bodies
This leads to several questions for me:
1. Were the first humans black, brown or white (underneath their fur)? Or were they kind of grey coloured, like our Border collie when he’s clean shaven. (Not that I have done this.)
2. Don’t furry animals need Vitamin D, too? Where does our dog get his vitamin D from, since he’s covered in hair?
According to this Vitamin D Wiki, they do. So how do they get it when they’re covered in fur/feathers?
2. Surprising Siblings: Black and White Brothers Are Actually Twins shows that people of Caribbean descent often carry European DNA.
3. Some Doctors Aren’t Wild About Self Tanner And Prefer You Stay Pale from Jezebel.
4. And if this article doesn’t stop you from using sun beds nothing will, from Women’s Health.
5. Based On The Colour Of One’s Skin, in which we are cautioned against confusing skin colour and racial identity, from Zero At The Bone
7. The Enduring Popularity Of The Tan from The Beheld
8. A depressingly large number of Nigerian women use harmful skin bleach, from Jezebel.