Peter Frost (anthropologist)

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Peter Frost is a Canadian anthropologist,[1] he is best known for a hypothesis on the evolution of European hair, eye and skin color by sexual selection.[2] He believes sexual dimorphism of complexion in humans acts as a cue for identifying a person's sex.[3][4][5] Frost takes issue with the commonly accepted theory that the evolution of light eye and hair coloration is a side effect of natural selection for skin color, in order to maximize vitamin D synthesis in high latitudes. He contends that light skin preference, sex ratio and monogamous mating during the Late Glacial Maximum resulted in novel hair and eye color, and white skin, evolving by sexual selection.

Sexual selection hypothesis

He believes sexual dimorphism of complexion in humans acts as a cue to identify a person's sex, and that in traditional cultures women avoided the sun to retain their lighter complexion. In Frost's view European hair, eye and skin color originated by sexual selection.[6][7][8] He suggests that in Europe during the Late Glacial Maximum males had an excess of females to choose from, but that there was little or no polygyny. The proposed explanation for an excess of females is a high mortality of men hunting mobile game animals on foot, in the steppe-tundra which covered the European plain in the Late Glacial Maximum.[9] Frost argues that diversity of hair and eye pigmentation occurs only in Europe and that frequency-dependent sexual selection for such diversity is a more likely explanation than the rival theory of hair and eye colors being a side effect of natural selection for reduced melanin resulting from humans moving north.[10][11][12]

Criticism

Sexual selection is a disputed explanation for pigmentary traits in Europeans,[13][14][15] critics of Frost's hypothesis maintain sexual selection would have resulted in the traits of lighter skin, hair and eyes exhibiting strong sexual dimorphism. Frost says that there is evidence for sex linkage; hair is lighter-colored and more variable in women than in men, on average. He also says less robust faces are associated with blue eyes, and the association is stronger for male faces than for female ones.[16]

A commonly accepted hypothesis for the evolution of lighter eye and hair colors is that they were a side effect of natural selection for increased Vitamin D production,[14][17] shortage of vitamin D in the diet of early agriculturists is also suggested to be a cause.[18][19][20][21] An anomaly for this conjecture is that historically hunter gatherer population in Africa such as the Khoisan and Oromo peoples, who are paler than other sub Saharan Africans and basal to them, ought to have darker skin than historically agriculturist groups.[22][18]

Skin pigmentation and Vitamin D levels

Frost argues that there is evidence for a U-shaped relationship between blood vitamin D levels and mortality, and that the optimum blood level of vitamin D in lighter skinned humans is significantly higher than in other people due to differences in metabolism.[23][24] According to Frost the optimum vitamin D level for Europeans is an inappropriate standard for assessing the need for vitamin D supplementation in dark skinned people, and it may result in darker skinned people being exposed to excessively high levels of vitamin D.[25]

Northern Native people

At high northern latitudes solar ultraviolet radiation is too weak for synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. In response to assertions that northern Natives are adapted to high intake of vitamin D from ocean fish, Frost says that only in coastal regions did Natives of North America have dietary sources rich in vitamin D, and that there is evidence for the metabolism of northern Native people being adapted to local conditions such as low levels of vitamin D and a diet high in meat. He suggests that raising vitamin D levels by supplementation would have particularly harmful effects in northern Natives.[26][27]

Human micro evolution

Frost has authored articles on human micro-evolution in which he suggests that human evolution did not halt in an Environment of evolutionary adaptedness of the Pleistocene, but accelerated as civilisation created new environments and selection pressures, thereby favoring the spread of genotypes that had not previously been advantageous for fitness while progressively eliminating previously adaptive genotypes. According to Frost a heritable mental ability specific to working as a scribe spread rapidly, while the predisposition to be violent was progressively eliminated from the gene pool and replaced by a tendency to submit to authority.[28][29][30] He hypothesizes that the prevalence of Tay–Sachs disease alleles in eastern Quebec is result of heterozygote advantage. Frost suggests the heterozygous state enhanced reproductive success by enabling adaptation to the mental tasks of market-orientated occupations.[31]

References

  1. Peter Frost's website
  2. "Cavegirls were first blondes to have fun", Sunday Times, February 26, 2006. (corrected version, anonymous Disappearing blonde gene news hoax of 2002 was originally made mention of in report)
  3. Frost, P., (2011),Hue and luminosity of human skin: a visual cue for gender recognition and other mental tasks, Human Ethology Bulletin, 26(2), 25-34.
  4. Frost, P., "Fair Women, Dark Men: The Forgotten Roots of Color Prejudice", 2005, ISBN 1877275727Template:Primary source-inline
  5. Femmes claires, hommes foncés : Les racines oubliées du colorisme, Peter Frost, Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2011Template:Primary source-inline
  6. Frost, P., (2006) European hair and eye color - A case of frequency-dependent sexual selection? Evolution and Human Behavior.
  7. Frost, P. (2008), Sexual selection and human geographic variation, Special Issue: Proceedings of the ND Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 2(4), pp. 169-191. [1]
  8. Cunningham, Michael R.; Roberts, Alan R.; Barbee, Anita P.; Druen, Perri B.; Et Al (1995). ""Their ideas of beauty are, on the whole, the same as ours": Consistency and variability in the cross-cultural perception of female physical attractiveness". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 68 (2): 261. Template:Citation error. Template:Primary source-inline
  9. Frost, P.. "Sexual selection and human geographic variation" (PDF). Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology 2 (4): 169–191. http://137.140.1.71/jsec/articles/volume2/issue4/NEEPSfrost.pdf. 
  10. Frost, P.. "Sexual selection and human geographic variation" (PDF). Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology 2 (4): 169–191. http://137.140.1.71/jsec/articles/volume2/issue4/NEEPSfrost.pdf. 
  11. Norton, H.L. and Hammer, M.F. (2007). Sequence variation in the pigmentation candidate gene SLC24A5 and evidence for independent evolution of light skin in European and East Asian populations. Program of the 77th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, p. 179.
  12. Perrett, DI; May, KA; Yoshikawa, S (1994). "Facial shape and judgements of female attractiveness". Nature 368 (6468): 239–42. Template:Citation error. PMID 8145822. 
  13. Juzeniene, A; Setlow, R; Porojnicu, A; Steindal, AH; Moan, J (2009). "Development of different human skin colors: A review highlighting photobiological and photobiophysical aspects". Journal of photochemistry and photobiology. B, Biology 96 (2): 93–100. Template:Citation error. PMID 19481954. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Jablonski, NG; Chaplin, G (2010). "Colloquium paper: Human skin pigmentation as an adaptation to UV radiation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107 Suppl 2: 8962–8. Template:Citation error. PMC 3024016. PMID 20445093. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3024016/. 
  15. Frost, Peter (2007). "Human skin-color sexual dimorphism: A test of the sexual selection hypothesis". American Journal of Physical Anthropology 133 (1): 779–80; author reply 780–1. Template:Citation error. PMID 17326100. 
  16. Kleisner K, Priplatova L, Frost P, Flegr J (2013) Trustworthy-Looking Face Meets Brown Eyes. PLoS ONE 8(1): e53285. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053285
  17. Yuen, A.W.C.; Jablonski, N.G. (2010). "Vitamin D: In the evolution of human skin colour". Medical Hypotheses 74 (1): 39–44. Template:Citation error. PMID 19717244. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Frank W Sweet The Paleo-Etiology of Human Skin Tone
  19. Khan, R.; Khan, B.S. Razib (2010). "Diet, disease and pigment variation in humans". Medical Hypotheses 75 (4): 363–7. Template:Citation error. PMID 20409647. 
  20. Gibbons, A. (2007). "AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGISTS MEETING: European Skin Turned Pale Only Recently, Gene Suggests". Science 316 (5823): 364a. Template:Citation error. PMID 17446367. 
  21. Juzeniene, A; Setlow, R; Porojnicu, A; Steindal, AH; Moan, J (2009). "Development of different human skin colors: A review highlighting photobiological and photobiophysical aspects". Journal of photochemistry and photobiology. B, Biology 96 (2): 93–100. Template:Citation error. PMID 19481954. 
  22. Sweet,Frank W. [2] comment at The Study of Racialism. org Posted:8 Oct 2009 18:25 Retrieved 28th Oct 2010Template:Self-published inline
  23. Frost, P (2012). "Vitamin D deficiency among northern Native Peoples: A real or apparent problem?". International Journal of Circumpolar Health: 71, 18001. PMID 22377213.  - DOI: 10.3402/IJCH.v71i0
  24. Frost, P.,Reply to W.B. Grant ‘Re: Vitamin D deficiency among northern Native Peoples’ International Journal of Circumpolar Health,71, 18435 - DOI: 10.3402/ijch.v71i0
  25. Frost, P (2009). "Black-white differences in cancer risk and the vitamin D hypothesis". Journal of the National Medical Association 101 (12): 1310–2. PMID 20070025. 
  26. Frost, P (2012). "Vitamin D deficiency among northern Native Peoples: A real or apparent problem?". International Journal of Circumpolar Health: 71, 18001. PMID 22377213.  - DOI: 10.3402/IJCH.v71i0
  27. Frost, P.,Reply to W.B. Grant ‘Re: Vitamin D deficiency among northern Native Peoples’ International Journal of Circumpolar Health,71, 18435 - DOI: 10.3402/ijch.v71i0
  28. Frost, Peter (2011). "Human nature or human natures?". Futures 43 (8): 740. Template:Citation error. 
  29. Frost, P.,The Roman State and genetic pacification, Evolutionary Psychology, 8(3), 376-389.
  30. Frost, Peter (2008). "The spread of alphabetical writing may have favored the latest variant of the ASPM gene". Medical Hypotheses 70 (1): 17–20. Template:Citation error. PMID 17604569. 
  31. Frost, P., Tay-Sachs and French Canadians: A Case of Gene-Culture Co-evolution?, Advances in Anthropology, Vol.2 No.3, August 2012, DOI: 10.4236/aa.2012.23016

External links


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