> Is it a given that human colour is directly proportionate to
> latitude? Are there any theories regarding this human biological
Yes and no.
Dark skin pigmentation is an advantage at low latitudes, as it protects the
skin from sunshine. As such, basically all people living at low latitudes
have a considerably darker complexion than those living at higher latitudes.
In return, a lighter complexion is a certain advantage at high latitudes, as
it allows for certain Ultraviolet-light-dependent subcutaneous
transformation processes of Vitamin D - but only if this doesn`t naturally
exist in high enough concentration in the diet. As such, Inuit, depending
strongly on fish diet (which contains a lot of Vitamin D), do not have a
light complexion, while the Scandinavians, who obviously for quite some time
depended mainly on cow-milk based diet (which is relativly low of natural
Vitamine D, but contains elements that break up into VitD under UV-light.
Thus, for Scandinavians it obviously was an adaptive advantage to be of
light pigmentation, as this allowed them to stay more healthy on the
That`s what I have heard, at least.
All the best,
Raimund Karl <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Research Fellow for European Archaeology
Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies
National Library of Wales
Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Cymru, UK