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Are Dinosaurs Why We Need Sunscreen?

by kelly / October, 17 2018 01:30

Photo of dinosaur's skeleton in a museum

How could dinosaurs be related to humans having to wear sunscreen? Well the connection between the two is stronger than you think. And it all goes back to how our ancient ancestors and dinosaurs coexisted or rather how humanity survived dinosaurs.

Sun Damage DNA Repair Kit

First, to understand how dinosaurs correlate to people wearing sunscreen – let’s look at a recent study published in Current Biology. The study showed that Somalian blind cavefish are missing an ancient DNA repair kit that protects many plants and animals from the harmful effects of sunlight.

This DNA repair kit allows species to use energy from visible light to repair DNA damaged by UV light. It’s the reason why plants can sunbathe without hurting their DNA while humans can’t - we risk getting skin cancer.

Cavefish don’t have this DNA kit because the species has spent millions of year dwelling and evolving in complete darkness.

This research is evidence of the “nocturnal bottleneck” theory.

Nocturnal Bottleneck Theory

The theory surmises that our ancient ancestors – and I’m talking about early mammals here and specifically a subset known as “bottleneck” mammals – that lived underground or were nocturnal to avoid being killed by dinosaurs. Yup, like the movie Jurassic Park proves – dinosaurs were not our friends.

Similar to the cavefish, our ancestors evolved for a long period of time in the darkness. We also know that, like the cavefish, humans lack the DNA repair kit.

So following the logic dinosaurs lead to early mammals living underground without much sunlight, which leads to the lack of the sun damage DNA repair kit in placental animals (of which humans are part), which leads to humans needing sunscreen!

So next time you’re putting on sunscreen you can thank the dinosaurs for keeping us in the dark!

Be The Smartest

We’re always on the lookout for the latest research on your skin and the sun. Check out our Studies and Suncare Smarts blog series so you can be in the know and up to date.

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