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.