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White Skin Developed in Europe Only As Recently as 8,000 Years Ago Say Anthropologists

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The myriad of skin tones and eye colors that humans express around the world are interesting and wonderful in their variety. Research continues on how humans acquired the traits they now have and when, in order to complete the puzzle that is our ancient human history. Now, a recent analysis by anthropologists suggests that the light skin color and the tallness associated with European genetics are relatively recent traits to the continent.

An international team of researchers as headed by Harvard University’s Dr. Iain Mathieson put forth a study at the 84th annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists recently.

Based on 83 human samples from Holocene Europe as analyzed under the 1000 Genomes Project , it is now found that for the majority of the time that humans have lived in Europe, the people had dark skin, and the genes signifying light skin only appear within the past 8,000 years. This recent and relatively quick process of natural selection suggests to researchers that the traits which spread rapidly were advantageous within that environment, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) .

This dramatic evidence suggests modern Europeans do not appear as their long ancient ancestors did.


Spreading Genetics

The samples are derived from a wide range of ancient populations, rather than a few individuals, and they supplied researchers with five specific genes associated with skin color and diet.

AAAS reports that the “modern humans who came out of Africa to originally settle Europe about 40,000 years are presumed to have had dark skin, which is advantageous in sunny latitudes. And the new data confirm that about 8500 years ago, early hunter-gatherers in Spain, Luxembourg, and Hungary also had darker skin: They lacked versions of two genes—SLC24A5 and SLC45A2—that lead to depigmentation and, therefore, pale skin in Europeans today. […]

Then, the first farmers from the Near East arrived in Europe; they carried both genes for light skin. As they interbred with the indigenous hunter-gatherers, one of their light-skin genes swept through Europe, so that central and southern Europeans also began to have lighter skin. The other gene variant, SLC45A2, was at low levels until about 5800 years ago when it swept up to high frequency.”

This differed from the situation farther north. Ancient remains from southern Sweden 7,700 years ago were found to have the gene variants indicating light skin and blonde hair, and another gene, HERC2/OCA2, which causes blue eyes. This indicated to researchers that ancient hunter-gatherers of northern Europe were already pale and blue-eyed. This light skin trait would have been advantageous in the regions of less sunlight.

Natural Selection

Mathieson and colleagues do not specify in the study why the genes were favored and spread as quickly as they did, but it is suggested that Vitamin D absorption likely played a role. Ancient hunter-gatherers in Europe also could not digest milk 8,000 years ago. The ability to do so only came about 4,300 years ago.

Paleoanthropologist Nina Jablonski of Pennsylvania State University notes that people in less sunny climates required different skin pigmentations in order to absorb and synthesize Vitamin D. The pale skin was advantageous in the region, as well was the ability to digest milk.

“Natural selection has favored two genetic solutions to that problem—evolving pale skin that absorbs UV more efficiently or favoring lactose tolerance to be able to digest the sugars and vitamin D naturally found in milk,” writes AAAS.

This new research follows related studies on pre-agricultural European genomes and modern humans in Europe before the rise of farming.

Artist’s depiction of Stone Age peoples

Artist’s depiction of Stone Age peoples ( Wikimedia Commons )


DNA taken from the wisdom tooth of a 7,000-year-old human found in Spain in 2006 overturned the popular image of light-skinned European hunter-gatherers. The study revealed that the individual had dark hair and the dark-skinned genes of an African. However, the man had blue eyes, an unexpected find by researchers. The hunter-gatherer is the oldest known individual in Europe found to have blue eyes.

Artist’s impression of a blue-eyed hunter gatherer

Artist’s impression of a blue-eyed hunter gatherer (Credit: PELOPANTON / CSIC )


I certainly find this article interesting in its implications. However, I can't help but wonder about older suspected fair skinned peoples found around the world. In particular, the Solutrean peoples from western Europe around 20-15 thousand years ago are believed to have been fair skinned and archaeologists are just now beginning to find evidence of their travel to the Americas between 17-13 thousand years ago.

It is believed that the evidence found from these peoples show that they were fair skinned. There are other examples around the world as well. I just find it hard to believe that such a dominate trait in the world today could be so recent.

In addition, how did these people cope with the radically reduced amount of sunlight and thus vitamin D which was an ever present problem in the northern climes. Were these people able to cope perfectly fine for 30 thousand years in Europe and then suddenly needed more vitamin D so adapted to paler skin only 8 thousand years ago? Why? This does not make sense to me.

In order for this trait to be useful it must have been developed earlier than 8 thousand years ago.

People there had to go underground so they couldn't have gotten much sunlight during the ice age so that could have played a part. The Nile also ran the opposite way and across Africa and emptied in the Atlantic so maybe the continents moved when the last pole shift happened. There are so many different possibilities for why that could have happened.

The article says that northern Europeans already had light skin and hair and blue eyes and this would likely have been due to absorption of UV light to produce vitamin D. 

The attraction of the “different” – being light skin, blue eyes – when the majority of people were darker skinned and brown eyes possibly meant that women and men chose mates with those “different” characteristics and this would have spread the genes through the population quite quickly.


Modern man settled in Anatolia around 11000 years ago, following deluge of Lemuria in South. He was dark skinned. His colour change tool 3000 years. And he was white 8000 years ago.

Prior to farming, the peoples of the norther latitudes were dark skinned because they were getting enough vitamin D from plants and animals who, in turn, synthesized vitamin D directly. When peoples from the south and east arrived, and brought with them farming (and their DNA), the hunters and gatherers of the region became farmers; as a result,- and over time - eastern and southern DNA and farming replace the old way of living. Peoples now in the norther latitude (Europe, for instance) became exclusively farmers (no Vitamin D from plants and animals) and the alleles for white skin became dominant to extract as much vitamin D from the sun as possible.

I agree. It is also possible to get vitamin D from seafood(African populations foraged tidewaters in S.Africa 80,000yrs ago) small bands may have emigrated on coastal routes but the more successful population would have come from Central Eurasia where,joining the wolf as double top predators,they would out compete other populations exploiting the mega-herds of the steppes.

It's making the alien intravention theory more plausible in my eyes

Rather than a direct effect of reduced UV absorption, the change from hunter gatherer diet to that of a European farmer is probably what reduced the VitD intake or uptake to the extent that selection overwhelmingly favored the pale mutations and what went with them. Interestingly the modern diet does nothing to change any of that. There is still strong selection for pale skin virtually globally.

Pale skin is not a dominant trait, as witnessed by the majority of the earths population having dark, tan and colored skin. That is the history the west has perpetuated on the world so that western europe cold hold its power in the world.

Dominance in genetics may not mean what you think, it does not make something better. The selection for recessive characters or alleles will only occur if there is a very real genetic advantage in that place and time. That advantage, simple as it is, still exists, again it doesn't mean much by itself. However in evolutionary terms white skin is inevitable because of the modern diet.

As an interesting note on skin coloration, all peoples, from all cultural and racial sources, have been shown to prefer lighter skin, eye, and hair coloration. This is not to say that every person has such preferences, but that the majority of people do.

While vitamin D no doubt plays a role, sexual selection most likely plays a far stronger role.

While unfortunate, it is also certain that the sexual selection preferences of females were less influential than males, as rape and slavery, rape and war, and such events played a role in inheritance.

On another note, genes for pigmentation were present in various hominids and were introduced into the H. sapiens gene pool during hybridization events. I suspect that freckles and gingers come from Neanderthals. Blue eyes derived from Denisovans remain in Melanesian populations today.

So, while the spread of fair pigmentation spread through populations that were darker only after 10kya, such adaptations occurred far earlier in H. sapiens in northern Europe, Neanderthal, Denisovan, and probably other hominids, and were highly selected for by sexual preference, rather than merely better survival rates due to vitamin D, etc.

One interesting line of thinking is that white men did NOT come from earth but from Mars. It is speculated that Earth and Mars nearly collided or brushed against each other and people were thrown from the smaller gravity planet onto the higher gravity planet. Enough survived that a new race was established on earth. The great Rift valley on Mars was the result. The Earths scar included the removal of peaks in Peru (Machupichu) (sp?).
Earth scientist avoid this line of thought as it is unthinkable to them but physics seems to suggest that this is indeed possible if not absolutely probable.
Tiemant (the missing planet) got kicked out of orbit and dragged Mars into a collision with earth. Tiemant then left out solar system and Mars and Earth reestablished themselves back into their old orbits.
Mars and Earth both rebounded and settled back into their gravity wells which are depression at a solar resonance which determines the placement of all planets. Ever notice that the planets are lined up quite specific distances from one another? That is gravity resonance.
Planets want to be in the center (or depression) of this gravity resonance "well".

Bill Ingram, I suspect that your thesis is unlikely, at best. Perhaps you might give a bit of consideration to the mathematical examination of the forces such events would have exerted, and re-examine the potential of people to survive such trauma, not to mention the planetary bodies themselves.

There is zero probability that the events you describe occurred.

I don't believe any of those ''recent analyses''.

Agree, next thing they will tell us is that we are just "light skinned" Africans. They are trying to rewrite history to wipe out European(White) heritage.

Luccas, no. It is not an attempt “to rewrite history to wipe out European (White) history”.

It’s more like; After 5oo hundred plus years of the European (powers/people) invading, conquering, destroying other nations/countries/people.

Trying to take over the world and re-create the world into the European (white) IMAGE, other people/cultures are saying enough is enough, it is time to reclaim a few things.

There are other traditions, cultures, people, ideas, concepts, beliefs other then the European White Christian’s. To this day this seems to be for many a very hard thing to accept.

Yeah. It's time to accept the wrongs done to other nations and races by the "white/european man" and we begin a period of healing. Many whites I know are oblivious to the wrongs committed by their predecessors and some whites still living. You just have to look at Africa to get the picture. King leopold of Belgium.

Yes- the atrocities committed by this King Leopold were despicable.

It has been proven that the first humans on earth started from Africa and migrated all over the world. I know this may be a hard pill to swallow but you should do a DNA analysis so that you know how much African is in you. I personally would like to add to the findings here that possibly the neanderthal people were a close enough match to human and mated to make some of the variations of Europeans.

There is no "possibly" about it. Neanderthals being another human species, were closely related to modern humans. They mated with modern humans in Europea and Asia.

James R, nothing has been proven regarding the origination of H. sapiens, except a preponderance of evidence. While the lack of evidence is evidence, it is not proof. You may feel certain of your conclusions, but your certainty is not proof of anything except your conclusions.

Science is a process of discovering evidence, and as a result, can only reveal evidence, never proof.

Every scientific 'fact' people have ever believed was wrong, is wrong, and will be wrong, to some extent, and as new science reveals new evidence, we establish new paradigms. This includes human origins.

Well, if they are, they are only learning from the best.."Whites"

More "Historical Revisionism" or real science? Hard to say, but why would the people "suddenly" develop white skin after tens of thousands of years and not before?

I still "want to believe" that Whites came from the "gods" who "down from heaven to Earth came" as Zacharia Stichin said and what many many cultures around the world believe too. White is simply the result of genetic engineering and mixing of native and extraterrestrial DNA but that`s hard to prove especially that nobody (in the scientific community) would ever seriously consider this possibility

Probably when the Nephilims mated with humans. It's in the bible. :)

Asians, particularly northern Asians such as Koreans, Japanese and Chinese have skin the same shade of white as most Europeans. The idea of "white" being only 8 thousand yeas old is rubbish. Is this study the result of some government grant? I want my money back if it is.

If you can't be bothered to read the article, why bother commenting? It very clearly says that this research applies only to central and southern Europe, and that other populations already had evolved lighter skin. They also name the genes discovered, so opinions are irrelevant. Moron.

No, sorry, you are wrong about Asians and their skin color/s. If you have ever lived in East Asia you will know why.
Apart from a small minority, the overwhelming majority of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese (who are diverse and cannot reasonably be given a catch-all label 'Han Chinese') easily tan even if their skin looks white.

It is this ability to easily turn brown and darker under normal sunlight that distinguishes East Asians with light skin from white people. Genetically white people lack melanin but the East Asians overwhelmingly have the genes for dark pigmentation.

Most Japanese and Koreans go incredibly brown to even dark under the sun. Some white people of course get suntans but others cannot even tan. The freckles they have are a desperate attempt to stave off sunlight which explains the mottled skin of many people of Irish and Scottish descent in harsh climates such as that of Australia or the similar climates in US states.

Some Japanese originated around what we call Malaysia today and others in Polynesian areas. If you ever live in Japan you will notice these types. They are more common in the Kyushu and western Japan regions. Some of them can turn dark brown under the sun in summer without trying to get a suntan.

Koreans, too, can go incredibly dark under the sun. Despite a lot of xenophobic/racist propaganda that still persists in Korean society and from racist Korean groups on the internet who claim that Koreans are the most far from Africans genetically, Koreans also carry the genes for dark pigmentation that white people do not.

As for the Chinese, a huge population of fairly diverse origins. Yet again, most of them with light skin do not stay that way under sunlight, and also normally have complexions that overwhelmingly are not white.

No, you are wrong. I have no clue where you received your information from. Having been born and raised in China, and having lived in Korea, I can say with 100% certainty you are entirely wrong. Chinese and other Asians can tan, just like whites can tan. I've seen whites look very tan, and Chinese look very tan. Do you know why some of my people look dark? Becuase they are always out in the sun, and rarely if ever use sunblock. This same feature is seen in whites who are in the sun for hours everyday, and who do not use sun block. The Chinese people that I grew up, that I went to school with, that I went to college with, that I traveled across China with, are mostly all light skinned people who burn the same as whites in the west do.

It is nowdays where people realize how damaging UV light is, and why many people either are out of the sun most of the day or wear sunblock. Even I, born and raised in China, burn easily if I were to go outside all day without sunblock...same as a white person would.

Well there are actually many variations on the theme of 'white' skin - some are beautiful creamy tones which tan beautifully and some are reddish almost transparent and actually not at all 'white' since those skins show blood vessels easily and go red rather than tan in the sun. Mine is like that and I hate it - would much rather have the creamy version like my sister !! I think everyone dislikes either extreme of coloring, we all like the in-between shades best. There are people with such 'black' skin that they 'glow' and some so 'white' that they are truly spooky ! So if we all got together and admitted we prefer somewhere in the middle maybe we could talk about this subject honestly. The real test of ANY human being is not in their outer covering's color, but what their actual person is made of - their character. We all know this perfectly well, yet the ignorant can't keep from discriminating against those they perceive of as 'lower' on the totem pole thru no fault of their own. Humans must upgrade their attitudes on this subject in order for us to progress as a species, and if we did that future generations would all inherit the beautiful golden coloring of melded peoples. Of course that is what some are terrified of, as tho that would somehow make them 'less' worthy ! Idiots ! Nothing so beautiful as a person of melded race especially if they express the blue-eyed or green-eyed gene, which we all love.

Another media brainwashed self-hating white person. Racial suicide is a mental disorder

This has merely vindicated the long known fact of human migration out of Africa northwards to Europe. Loss of dark pigmentation occurs the farther away you are from the equator. On arrival to Europe colder environment led to paler skin tone as gene mutation resulting in light skin began. There is a similarity in albinism but in Europe paler skin began to dominate 8,000 years ago rather than remain recessive as in Africa. No surprise wholly black men were found in Spain, Portugal, Italy and the rest of South Europe just 7,000 years ago. This study is helpful to destroy some myths about how skin colors descended from the heavens.

This has merely vindicated the long known fact of human migration out of Africa northwards to Europe. Loss of dark pigmentation occurs the farther away you are from the equator. On arrival to Europe colder environment led to paler skin tone as gene mutation resulting in light skin began. There is a similarity in albinism but in Europe paler skin began to dominate 8,000 years ago rather than remain recessive as in Africa. No surprise wholly black men were found in Spain, Portugal, Italy and the rest of South Europe just 7,000 years ago. This study is helpful to destroy some myths about how skin colors descended from the heavens.

"The real test of ANY human being is not in their outer covering's colour, but what their actual person is made of - their character."

What you wrote below, contradicts what you wrote above:

"Humans must upgrade their attitudes on this subject in order for us to progress as a species, and if we did that future generations would all inherit the beautiful golden colouring of melded peoples."

Why should that matter?

Does anyone know of any contradictory reads to this? I do not care about the age, but I would like to see what the other side has to say no matter how false it may sound.

Does it really matter? We are each what we are by dint of (mostly) random pairings.

I am very surprised at the misinformation that society has fed the sheeple, also how the sheeple eat it up and believe it as true. You want the truth, get ready ....... WHITE PEOPLE ARE ALBINO BLACK PEOPLE. These Albino people were considered evil or magical and they were eaten. Don't believe me, this practice continues to this day. The Albino ancestors escaped from Africa and settled in a far away land with others who skin didn't burn all year round.

Google "Albino African" and compare to real White people, idiot.

WHITE PEOPLE, WHITE EUROPEANS ARE THE RESULT OF ALBINOS OF INDIANS/SOUTH ASIANS CROSS-BREEDING WITH BLACK AFRICAN ALBINOS IN DIFFERING %'s in THE DIFFERENT REGIONS OF EUROPE BEFORE THE ADVENT AND EXPANSION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE! Most of Eastern Europe to North-East Europe can be characterized as being filled with mostly Indian/South Asian albinos. Whites carry the four albinism genes in mutated form to be considered full candidates for albinism (SLC24A2, TYR, TYRP1, OCA2).

The gene that is responsible for the light appearance of most of White Europeans (OCA2), such as light hair and blue/grey eyes and pale skin, stands for oculucutaneous albinism type 2. This type of albinism is responsible for blonde/brown/red hair, blue/grey eyes, and pale skin. And all white Europeans carry this gene in mutated form just like persons with albinism!

The albinos that White Europeans themselves produce are OCA1 albinos, OCA1 type albinism is the highest and worst type of albinism with the highest reduction of melanin and melanin production in the body; characterized by white/pale hair, blue/grey/red eyes and extremely pale skin.

Now most people think this THIS IS THE ONLY TYPE OF ALBINISM THAT EXISTS IN THE WORLD, AND ONLY THIS TYPE OF ALBINISM IS TRUE ALBINISM! However, there ARE CURRENTLY FOURTEEN KNOWN TYPES OF ALBINISM! Whites themselves are OCA2-OCA7 albinos mostly, but the albinos that Whites produce are OCA1 albinos!

R1a, the so called Indo-European gene that was spread to Europe from the Eurasian steppes and associated with the spread of Indo-European languages throughout the Eurasian landmass; ORIGINATED FROM SOUTHERN ASIA/INDIA, BEFORE IT TRAVELED TO EUROPE! And Indian/South Asian albinos LOOK EXACTLY LIKE WHITE EUROPEANS AND CAN PASS AS WHITE EUROPEANS AND HAVE PASSED FOR WHITE EUROPEANS!

So next time, to all you "non-whites"; when you are pedestalizing white (albino) girls; just realize that modern day Whites are just albinos and not a race. They are the result of a genetic defect and a disease, and if you were to cross-breed an African albino from Northern/north-west Africa, with an Indian south Asian albino; or just take an South Asian albino, you would get a White European person on a pure genetic and physical level.



Albino rats/mice/rabbits have a much closer genetic relationship and resemblance to White Europeans physiologically and biologically THEN NON-ALBINO RATS/MICE/RABBITS! This is the real reason why so many modern laboratories HOLD AND CONTINUE TO BREED SO MANY LARGE NUMBERS OF ALBINO MICE/RABBITS/RATS FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTATION! It is because like these albino rodents, WHITE EUROPEANS ARE ALBINOS AND NOT A RACE, hence WHY THEY HAVE TO PERFORM THEIR RESEARCH ON THEM, SINCE THEY ARE ALBINOS JUST LIKE WHITE EUROPEANS!

Oh and btw, modern White Europeans are actually not indigenous or native to Europe, they are actually recent invaders and migrants and immigrants and transplants to Europe. The so called White Indo-European homeland was in the steppes of Siberia and Central Asia before White Indo-Europeans mass migrated to Europe. For the vast majority of the BC and AD period, White Indo-Europeans were illiterate barbaric backwards brutish horse nomads, who never created their own civilization, never created their own basic alphabet or a written script (it was forbidden in Ancient Indo-European societies to practice literacy in any form or to practice mass literacy in general), never discovered or came upon practicing formal farming or agriculture, did not build any sophisticated megalithic structures or cities or towns, never had any sophisticated architecture or engineering, did not come upon sophisticated iron working and metallurgy etc etc..

They were the Huns and Mongols of the BC and AD period; infact White Indo-Europeans were the first to create nomadic horse based steppe confederations on the Eurasian steppes and the first to utilize and domesticate the Eurasian horse, and use chariot/wagon technology in an aggressive militaristic manner. Infact the Hunnic and Mongolian empires were a direct replica and carbon copy, and were based on the original horse based steppe confederations that White Indo-Europeans had created on the Eurasian steppes BEFORE ANYONE ELSE THERE! Whites were pretty much the Huns and Mongols of the BC and AD period!

So if white people are so inferior, defective, and diseased, - how come we are on top and ruling the world?
White people are descended from black African people, - undoubtedly, we have the same DNA and mitochondrial DNA but we also have Neanderthal DNA that no Sub-Saharan African has (unless they have interbred with whites at some time or other). Blacks who do not eat enough meat from grazing animals get rickets in Europe, particularly northern and central Europe, due to too little UV light penetrating their skin and forming enough vitamin D. During the 19th and early 20th Centuries even whites who lived in the smoke shielded industrial towns and cities of the UK suffered from rickets if they had a poor diet. Even today Muslim children in the UK who cover up and don't eat enough meat are suffering from rickets. A pale skin is an advantage in such climes, those with rickets will grow up with bent leg bones and weak spines and will not make good breeders or nurturers due to being economically nonviable there being no alternative support structure other than work back in those days.
Add to this the receding ice age and a pale sun in northern climes and you can see why a white skin did better. The climate is also more inhospitable in northern climes which causes the necessity to breed invention, - it may thus be our climate which has given Europeans the edge. The living was definitely not easy!
Look, I understand why black people are trying to fight against centuries of discrimination and establish/re-establish a sense of racial and historical pride and self-respect, - particularly with such racist attitudes as the ridiculous "one drop rule" still prevalent in the States, but overplaying your cards and trying to convince Europeans that they are inferior is just not going to work, even amongst the self-deprecating ones.
You cannot have it both ways, i.e. that we are inferior on the one hand and conquering devils on the other.
The worst crime that any nation can commit is to allow themselves to become technologically inferior to others.

Albinism is a different thing. Most white people are not albinos. Why don't you educate yourself about albinism?

You almost have a point. Many albinos are persecuted in Africa because of baseless superstitions about them.

Despite the fact that I disagreed with the statements put forth in the article, I eagerly began reading the comments, initially impressed with the quality of the alter proposals presented, although I took issue with many of them as well. However, the farther into the comments I read, the dumber the comments became, until I finally just had to stop reading them before I reached the last few, not wishing to fill my brain with garbage the White Skin Developed in Europe Only As Recently as 8,000 Years Ago Say Anthropologistseven wish to share my own thoughts. :-(

I don't know why the website messed my comment up and replaced the last part with the title to the article.

If the Neanderthals were indeed a separate species modern humans could have mated with them but produced only mules ,or halfbreed offspring who would seldom have produced offspring of their own,as is the case with crosses between asses and horses.Either Neanderthals were not a separate species ,which would explain the amount of their genetic material that survives,or the number of fertile mules was much higher than is the case with the horse/jackass cross, or the cross breeding was prolific.

Steve Dalman, I recommend reading more extensively on hybridization, as, while hybridization does have a suppressive effect on fertility, absolute sterility is a rarity. It is even likely that speciation generally arises most often from hybridization.

Indeed, fertility in H. sapiens is reduced compared to Chimpanzees, indicating that we are very likely to be the product of hybridization.

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