Research shows that the “Neanderthal Belgians” did not have a white, but rather a black skin color

Primal Belgian gets a makeover. Research on eight bones from the Netherlands shows that our ancestors did not have white skin, but rather black skin. “We certainly haven’t had a light tan in 10,000 years,” says evolutionary biologist Dominique Adriaens (UGent).

Goran Solbrock

It was a large-scale study conducted by several universities, what exactly did they study?

Scientists conducted a genetic analysis on eight pieces of human bone, picked up on the Dutch coast. They found those fossils in fishing nets. From this analysis we can deduce, among other things, age, but also skin color and eye color. It now appears that our ancestors looked a little darker than expected.”

What does the research say concretely about Neanderthals in our region?

Of course, we have known for a long time that the inhabitants of Europe were dark-skinned. Humans entered Eastern Europe about 35,000 years ago, and only thousands of years later they ended up in the area where we live now. According to the study, these people had dark skin and light eyes. So we already knew that the first Europeans were dark, and now it seems that this is also true of the first Homo sapiens in our area. Here is the big breakthrough, it just faded later than expected.”

“It definitely has to do with people walking around where we live now. In the study they talked about typical Europeans, but you can also talk about archetype of Belgians. Only, the term remains vague and broad. Let’s call it our ancestors. So they had dark skin over any Anyway, there isn’t the slightest debate about that. The question is simply until when, we won’t get an answer to that in this study. But we do know that 10,000 years ago they definitely didn’t have a light tan.”

Could this number drop too much?

“You have to do targeted DNA analysis for that, so you need the right fossils from the right time window to be able to draw conclusions. Full DNA analysis is still quite recent as well, only available in recent years. A lot is still undiscovered, so discoveries will definitely follow.” “.

So how did we end up with pale skin?

This has several reasons. One is what we have in the scientific community melanocortin 1 receptors-Gene We found variants of this gene in early humans. Mutation of these genes affects the color of our skin and the color of our eyes. It happened at a certain point through natural selection for reproduction. That’s how it went down.”

What are the other reasons?

“The further north you go, the less UV radiation you get. Too much UV isn’t good for you, but too little isn’t good either. It helps you produce vitamin D, which you need for a strong skeleton, among other things. Well, people with “Darker skin gets less vitamin D with the same amount of UV radiation than pale people. So, bodies in Scandinavia felt more selective pressure to become lighter, to get more vitamin D into their climate and increase their chances of survival.”

Thus, people from Western Europe had darker skin and people from Eastern Europe had lighter skin and darker eyes.

This is actually due to UV rays, but also things like eating. A contemporary example is the Inuit. They have a dark skin color despite the lack of ultraviolet radiation in their cold climate.

“That’s because they’ve been dependent on fish and other marine life for centuries, and they’re also full of vitamin D. So they’ve made vitamin D deficiency through their food, which reduces the natural pressure for bleaching. In our area we eat a lot of plants, so there’s been a lot of pressure here.” “.

Our ancestors are often portrayed as a tough white warrior. Should we change that in history textbooks?

“We still don’t know for sure when people here have pale skin. So I’ve been waiting a while before making adjustments to our history books.”

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