- The presence of brown/black Eumelanin in dark-skinned people helps filter out UV radiation, thus preventing/reducing their chances of suffering from skin cancer (restricted to the less-pigmented soles & palms, if any). They enjoy a 500 – 1000 fold protection compared with light skinned people.
- Probably the Hominins who lived 2-3 million years ago in East African savannah weren’t black skinned & loss of bodily hair to aid sweating & heat loss (thermoregulation), perhaps exposed their bare skin (was white & pale).
- Africans living 1.2-1.8 million years ago were exposed to high doses of UV-B throughout the year. This induced selective pressure to retain a variant MC1R gene which encodes for dark coloration of skin (melanization).
- Lethal skin cancer hasn’t been seen among youngsters during reproductive years, which rules out the myth the skin cancer served as a selective force for development of dark skin.
- Mel Greaves’ study (Institute of Cancer Research, UK) quotes the high incidence of skin cancer among Albinos (white skinned due to melanin pigmentation disorder) to question this misconception. They are seen among black ethnic groups throughout sub-Saharan Africa (1 in 5000), Ibo in Nigeria & Tongo in Zimbabwe (1 in 1000).
- Focal skin lesions can be seen in 5 year old children, by 20 years, most Albinos display overt skin cancer. Albinos in India, Panama & Papua New Guinea also have the same risk for skin cancer.