Without a tan? Neanderthals are to blame


A new genetic study carried out reveals that many of our characteristics are due to our ancestors, the Neanderthals. And between them, the ease of sunbathing or even until what time stays awake.

If you spent all summer in the sun, and could not get your skin tanned, it’s the fault of our ancestors. The color of your hair, if it is already dawn and, however much you want, you do not feel like going to sleep. Among other factors. If you have identified with any of these cases or even with all, it is likely that the fault lies with your Neanderthal offspring.

This genetic study published recently in the journal Science, counts on the Portuguese researcher Vitor Sousa, among its authors, and reveals that characteristics such as skin color, predisposition to arthritis and the propensity to stay awake later come from the genes that Neanderthals passed to modern humans through procreation between the two species. Another similar study was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Therefore, it is believed that hair color, mood, propensity to smoke or have an eating disorder may all be factors related to procreation between both species.

Neanderthals arrived in Eurasia thousands of years before modern humans, and were already well-adapted to the lower and more variable levels of sunlight, and were therefore paler. This is when Homo Sapiens came from Africa, where they were accustomed to a more intense level of sunlight.

Janet Kelso, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, said that “skin and hair color, circadian rhythm [biological clock]and mood are all influenced by exposure to light”, adding that “sunlight can have shaped the phenotype [characteristics that can be observed in an organism or population]of the Neanderthals. “The introduction of these genes into the modern human, he said, “continues to contribute to the variation in these traits these days”

The findings of this study were made after analyzing and comparing old DNA data with the genetic data and characteristics of 112,000 Britons enrolled in the UK Biobank study. It is estimated that Europeans owe 2.6% of their DNA to Neanderthals.