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Why do Africans have black skin?

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Quick Answer

Studies suggest that dark skin may have evolved to promote survival. People with black skin are less likely to get skin cancer, which is common in areas with strong sunlight. The melanin in the skin may protect against fungal infections in humid climates, and it prevents sunburn.

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Full Answer

Black skin is advantageous in Africa because it prevents sunburns, which can make it difficult to perform basic necessities, such as hunting and gathering. A lack of skin pigment can cause vision problems, and dark skin protects sweat glands from being damaged by the sun. Excessive UV rays from the sun can hinder neural development. Dark skin helps to protect the body's folic acid supply, which promotes neural development.

Scientists conducted studies on people in Africa with albinism. The studies showed that albino people in Africa usually died from skin cancer. The studies also showed that albino people in Africa developed lesions sooner than white-skinned Americans due to the amount of outdoor labor performed in Africa. In the past, if people in Africa had pale skin, they would develop skin cancer at a rapid rate, and not be able to survive. The result is that people with dark skin were more likely to pass on their genes, eventually resulting in a dark-skinned population.

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