Out of Africa: Albinism And The Origins Of Skin Color (A Short Synopsis)

Based on what we know from archaeological finds, genetic and fossil evidence, radiometric and carbon dating, I would have to conclude that the origins of human life began in Africa. However, I have to strongly disagree with Dr. Frances Welsing’s (1969-1974 publications) conclusions on skin color and albinism. Yet, I understand how it was possible to arrive at the conclusions that Dr. Welsing’s came to when one considers the advances made in analytical and genetic testing in the past 40 to 50 years.

Today we now know that albinism is inherited to both dark and light skin races of the planet and its occurrence is about 1 in 20,000 people. We know from genetic and molecular biological research that people with albinism do carry the melanocytes needed to produce melanin. These research investigations have further showed us that the enzyme tyrosinase is needed to convert the melanocyte bodies into melanin. Yet people with albinism produce the inactive form of the tyrosinase enzyme. Albinism people also produce high concentrations of tyrosinase inhibitors which would prevent the conversion of melanocytes to melanin even if the enzyme was present. These biological findings explain why the skin of the white people of modern-day Europe and Asia is not as dark as people from African and the equatorial regions of the earth. Whites produce a combination of the active and inactive form of tyrosinase and there is also present at low concentration levels tyrosinase inhibitors whose molecular structures have not been completely identified. Thus, white and fairer-skin people have lower levels of melanin in their bodies, and particularly in their outer skin tissue even though the level of melanocytes in whites is no different-than those levels found in darker skin people.

Melanin has the chemical characteristic of absorbing UV radiation from sunlight and converting this wavelength of light into heat and energy. This absorbing-conversion process of melanin acts as a type of innate protection from potential damage to skin tissue from the sunlight due to prolong exposure. From geological, paleontological, anthropological and climate studies, we know that somewhere between 12,000 to 600,000 years ago the planet temperature was extremely cold with interment bouts of slightly warmer weather, and that all of the continents of the world were connected. Thus, when considering evolutionary pre-human adaptive traits, the challenges for the pre-human species to manage exposure to UV radiation from sunlight for prolong periods of time were almost nonexistent. Therefore, the need for pre-human environmental adaptation to warm temperatures would be at minimum for survival.

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The pre-human environmental adaptations to hotter climates came later (approx. from 12,000 to 40,000 years ago) when the earth’s temperature begin to rise and stabilize to the types of temperatures that are present today. As for migrations out of Africa into Europe, new research (2006) suggest that a first exodus of pre-humans (hominids) began around 400,000 years ago followed by a final wave of pre-modern day humans (homo-sapiens) about 120,000 years ago while the climate was still cold and thus, the out of Africa exodus would be more attributed to a fact of easy passage by way of connected land masses rather than because of some “tribal” indifference to skin color.

As for race mixing, many ideas and concepts about black or white gene dominance was abundant in the black and white intellectual communities in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s. Yet today, we see blacks and whites intermarrying producing offspring with mixtures and genetics of both parents. It is the racism of white America and European history that define a man by skin color based on his parents. Thus, Euro-centric ideologies would conclude that when a black man and a white woman produced a child, the child would always be considered 99% black. These ideas and concepts were not derived at based on human genetic science but merely reflected nationalistic racial attitudes. This black status was put on these mixed children even if they looked more white than black. You don’t have to look too far to see clear evidence of these racial concepts in American history. Just look at all of the black children who came by way of the slave master raping black female slaves. Many of these black female slaves were very dark skin but their babies still came out light skin. What dominate gene! Why do you think we have so many light-skin blacks today? So even if whites did believe in such a concept about preserving the race by not mixing with darker skin people (although this seems more of a myth since whites readily raped their slaves) it was an idea or belief born out of ignorance. Likewise, if blacks think that they could eradicate the white race by intermarrying because of some dominate black gene they had better think again. In the end you are going to produce off-spring whose skin color is not too black or too white! Beside, even white people are people of color. They are darker than people who have albinism and they definitely don’t look white. Try this quick experiment. Get a white person to stand straight up hands to side. Next, pick up a piece of computer paper and hold next to white person’s face. Examine the differences in hue and record your observations. Do report your results in a true and unbiased manner.

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Based on the scientific evidence that is clearly abundant today, I suggest that the original human species was neither black nor white but albino. If albinism is a defect in the genetic coding of modern-day humans as many scientists and researchers have concluded, then this defect is nothing more than a recessive gene that the modern-day human species has been carrying around with him for the last 120,000 years. I personally believe this is a sign to mankind that at one time we were all one group of pre-human creatures and that our present-day observed physical differences is nothing more than the result of geographical and environmental evolutionary circumstances.

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by Muslim Shahid