never one to shy away from a research challenge... I have been out digging and finally found a piece of research which deals with the depigmentation of human skin.
It comes from the Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 39, issue 1, 2000, and is by Jablonski and Chaplin.
I cant put the wjole article up because i will be slaughtered by my workplace copyright nazis, but can email it to anyone interested.
The gist of what they state is that skin pigmentation in early hominids was almost definately quite black. Skin pigmentation is essentially a balance between uv protection, and the production of enzymes needed for the utilisation of vitamin d. In areas with high uv levels you can maximise your uv protection (with black or dark skin) and still get adequate levels of vitamin d. In places with low levels of uv you need to drop off your uv protection in order to get adequate d levels. and ice age europe would have been just such a place.
interestingly they also find that in general female skin pigmentation is lower than male (and this is in general!) probably due to increased needs for vitamin d production.
none of which goes to prove that european history is any more rosy than it actually is. We have still behaved like pigs, just not albino pigs.
love and life
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