Freckles: Evolutionary Advantage or 'Cancer Factories'?
California Academy of Sciences - California Academy of Sciences
Throughout the history of Homo sapiens, skin pigmentation has been a highly labile trait, and similar skin tones have evolved independently numerous times. Skin pigmentation results from an evolutionary compromise between the conflicting demands of protection against ultraviolet radiation and production of vitamin D, and represents one of the best examples of evolution by natural selection acting on the human body. Because skin color is one of the most visible of human traits, it has been used as the primary characteristic for classifying people into races. Dr. Jablonski will discuss the history of skin-based race concepts and the meaning of skin color in the modern world, including its implications for health.