Cancer proposed as spur for evolution of dark-skinned ancestors

Fatal reactions to sunlight may have triggered a protective shift away from pale skin

BEYOND THE PALE  In several population studies, African albinos, represented here by a heavily freckled young man, frequently died young from skin cancers. Such cancers drove the evolution of dark skin early in Homo evolution, a new paper proposes. 

Brenda Carson/Shutterstock

This article is only available to Science News subscribers.

Subscribers, enter your e-mail address to access our archives.

Not a subscriber?

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.

More Stories from Science News on Anthropology

From the Nature Index

Paid Content