Cancer proposed as spur for evolution of dark-skinned ancestors

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

By Bruce Bower, 15:18 PM February 25, 2014

Common forms of skin cancer were Stone Age killers that prompted the evolution of black skin among human ancestors in Africa, a controversial new analysis concludes.


Evidence gathered over the last 40 years shows that albinos living in tropical parts of Africa and Central America, where they are constantly exposed to high levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, frequently develop skin cancer and die young from it, says biologist Mel Greaves of the Institute of Cancer Research in London....

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