Toward a Synopsis of the Challenges Facing Mainstream Interpretations of Skin Pigmentation in Humans

  •  Sylvain Cibangu    


When traditional or mainstream interpretations of skin pigmentation in humans were proposed, not much data were available about the anatomy of human skin in particular and pigment research in general. The most popular and influential thesis put forth to date to justify the evolution of skin pigmentation is the thesis that skin pigmentation grew out of a natural adaptation of Homo sapiens skin to scorching conditions of fiery heat faced with by Homo sapiens individuals in equatorial regions of Africa. It is thereby argued that peak UVR [ultraviolet rays] environments encountered in equatorial/savannah climate caused an eccrine gland production to offset the overheating of skin during the high physical activity of hunting exerted by Homo sapiens persons. However, with human anatomy increasingly becoming the object of scrutiny from various fronts of biology, newer insights have given rise to significant blind spots vis-à-vis traditional explanations of black skin pigmentation. The present paper takes stock of the major challenges afflicting existing characterizations of human skin evolution. Paths for future research of skin/pigment are suggested. The paper aims to lay out a follow-up on and/or synopsis of recurrent challenges that the space of pigment research has accumulated over the years, giving way to long due synergies. In a world supersensitive to racial equality and dignity, the paper furnishes concerned researchers and policy makers with a much-needed contribution to inquiry into dark- and black-skinned peoples.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9671
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-968X
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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