Thursday, May 8, 2008

Testosterone, melanin and race

Black people are black because their skin stores large amounts of the pigment melanin. What is it for? It's not sun-block. Native South Americans living in the tropics aren't black. As a group, explains researcher John Manning, black men are more sensitive to testosterone, and this makes them more masculinized than white men. Men who are more masculinized have better cardiovascular health, but are more susceptible to infections. Manning argues that melanin acts as a mechanical barrier to microbes. In other words, black skin evolved to compensate for a weaker immune system. Why would pale, lumbering, asthmatic white men evolve to have hypersensitive immune systems and poor cardiovascular health? Because white men have for several millennia been monogamous homebodies whose relatively uneventful lives enable them to sire children in their dotage. The vast majority of black ancestral marriage patterns, on the other hand, involve polygamy, and polygamous societies are violent. In the evolution of blackness, tolerance to disease wasn't so much of an issue. Black men lived fast and died young.


Anonymous said...

Melanin might well act as a barrier to microbes, however the following conclusions that blacks have 'weaker immune systems', and live in polygamous 'live fast, die young' societies do not follow.

Consider that within certain regions of Africa, the climate supports a greater degree of microbial illnesses than other regions of the world. Perhaps increased melanin is a reaction to this environment - a complement to the immune system in a hostile environment rather than a compensation for inherently weak immune systems.

It is interesting to note that some regions of Africa at the same latitudes can have people of varying skin tone. In the Eastern highlands of Ethiopia & Kenya where altitude decreases temperature and thus decreases the viability of certain pathogenic organisms, skin tone can be considerably lighter than say, the tropical lowland forest regions of Nigeria or Cameroon.

There is no evidence to suggest polygamous societies are violent. In fact the opposite would seem to make more sense. Monogamy increases the feelings possessiveness, jealousy and male competitiveness which increases aggression between both males and females, as opposed to polygamous societies where competition between males for women is dampened.

Average Joe said...

Actually polygamous societies are generally more violent since there is greater competition between males for access to females. Remember, in a polygamous society, males can have more than one wife at a time which means that other males will have no wives. In monogamous societies, men are restricted to one wife at a time which means that more men can get married.

Anonymous said...

Watch this very interesting video on the possible origin of white populations:

albo said...

Yet another instance of European pseudo-scholarship. Cherry-picking in a bid to find a moral equivalent of and justification for their own brutal history. Non white cultures have had a relatively peaceful legacy in comparison.

Any healthy ecology always has more females than males to ensure more births than deaths(we see the opposite in countries like Germany today). Polygamy was therefore not done out of competition or for self aggrandizement but to encourage a man of means to take on more responsibilities ,distribute his wealth and finally to increase the population.Conversely we see Royalty and 'High born' people in Europe generally marrying within their class so as to keep the wealth..we also see the ailments that result from this in some members of the Royal family.taking on a wife was no simple matter..the elders are involved..and if a girl didn't want you you moved on..for a healthy ecology is one of abundance..the proverbial plenty of fish in the sea.

The Idea of competition is one borne of an environment of scarcity...Europe and her descendant cultures have refined competition to a science, and infected the rest of the world with this virulent mindset, to its advantage.