Press Esc to close
Saturday 31 January 2015
News updated at 10:57 AM IST
Weather
Max: 28°C
Min : 17°C
In Bengaluru
Sunny day

Europeans got lighter skin only 7,000 years ago?

London, Jan 27, 2014 (IANS)

Debunking the theory that lighter skin gradually arose in Europeans nearly 40,000 years ago, new research has revealed that it evolved much recently -- only 7,000 years ago.

An ancient male European hunter-gatherer, who lived in modern-day Spain only about 7,000 years ago, had dark skin and blue eyes, the researchers said.

"The findings also hint that light skin evolved not to adjust to the lower-light conditions in Europe as compared to Africa, but instead to the new diet that emerged after the agricultural revolution," said Carles Lalueza-Fox, a paleogenomics researcher at the Pompeu Fabra University in Spain.

"It was assumed that the lighter skin was something needed in high latitudes, to synthesise vitamin D in places where UV light is lower than found in the tropics," Lalueza-Fox was quoted as saying.

The new discovery, however, shows that latitude alone did not drive the evolution of Europeans' light skin, said the study published in the journal Nature.

Analysing two male skeletons found in a labyrinthine cave in the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain in 2006, researchers found the skeletons were about 7,000 years old.

The bodies were covered with red soil, characteristic of Paleolithic burial sites, Lalueza-Fox said.

Several years later, the team revisited the skeletons and extracted DNA from a molar tooth in one of them.

The DNA analysis shows the man had the gene mutation for blue eyes but not the European mutations for lighter skin.

The DNA also shows that the man was more closely related to modern-day northern Europeans than to southern Europeans.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
A visitor takes a 'selfie' in front of an exhibit titled 'Circle Uncircled' by artist Rahul Kumar...

A visitor takes a 'selfie' in front of an exhibit titled 'Circle Uncircled' by artist Rahul Kumar...

A tightrope walker is silhouetted against the setting sun as she holds a balancing pole...

A tightrope walker is silhouetted against the setting sun as she holds a balancing pole...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of his death...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of his death...

President Pranab Mukherjee paying tributes to father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi...

President Pranab Mukherjee paying tributes to father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi...

Lawyers stop a train at Moradabad Railway Station on Friday during a protest demanding...

Lawyers stop a train at Moradabad Railway Station on Friday during a protest demanding...

An elderly woman and a boy stand outside their house with walls damaged in alleged firing from...

An elderly woman and a boy stand outside their house with walls damaged in alleged firing from...

New recruits of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) take oath during a graduation ceremony...

New recruits of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) take oath during a graduation ceremony...

A groom leads his horse in the equine pool after working out on the track, during early morning...

A groom leads his horse in the equine pool after working out on the track, during early morning...

A handler bathes a horse after a training session ahead of the Indian Derby in Mumbai...

A handler bathes a horse after a training session ahead of the Indian Derby in Mumbai...

Ladakhi women offering prayers during the inauguration of traditional Buddhist prayer...

Ladakhi women offering prayers during the inauguration of traditional Buddhist prayer...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523