White Skin Developed in Europe Only As Recently as 8,000 Years Ago Say Anthropologists
Previous research published in 2008 found that the earliest mutations in the eye-color genes that led to the evolution of blue eyes probably occurred about 10,000 years ago in individuals living in around the Black Sea.
The surprising aspect of the findings is that while it is fundamental to natural selection that advantageous genetic attributes spread, it is not often a speedy process. The study shows that these genetic pale skin traits swept across Europe speedily, and that phenomenon is of particular interest to researchers.
The preprint study “Eight thousand years of natural selection in Europe” by Mathieson and colleagues has been published in the online journal BioRxiv.
These new findings shed light on humanity’s genetic past, giving us a clearer vision of our ancient origins.
Featured Image: Image of reconstructed faces of three early humans in profile view. Credit: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History .
By Liz Leafloor