There has been many a debate and research on how certain racial skin colors were determined. Now an analysis of ancient DNA may reveal how Europeans ‘became white’ after they spread out of Africa
Analysis of ancient DNA suggests that at one point, Europe may have seen populations of hunter gatherers with blue eyes and dark skin.
The Europeans skin developed into lighter shades much later on and Daniel Zadik of the University of Leicester believes that the cause of this may be due to the Middle Eastern immigrants during the Bronze Age.
These various traits may have originated in different ancient civilizations. Concluding that blue eyes may have come from the hunter gatherers in Mesolithic Europe – 10,000 to 5,000 BC, while the other characteristics taken on later from the newcomers from the East.
However a study of two mutations responsible for lighter skin tell a different story; both seem to have been rare in the Mesolithic, but present in a large majority by the Bronze Age (3,000 years later), both in Europe and the steppe. As both areas received a significant influx of Middle Eastern farmers during this time, one might speculate that the mutations arose in the Middle East. They were probably then driven to high levels by natural selection, as they allowed the production of sufficient vitamin D further north despite relatively little sunlight, and/or better suited people to the new diet associated with farming.