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Reply to "In Nature, when it comes to humans, does color matter?"

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I don't really care to discuss to social implications of this in terms of how people are treated. I want this discussion to lean more heavily on the scientific data that is available about hue-mans, what causes color and what is the natural evolutionary purpose of having color (melanin). And the ultimate question, does our color make us superior or inferior in terms of science.
Sunnubian, sista, this is a discussion based on science. I'm curious what and if there are any advantages to having melanin. The social implications we discuss all the time here. I want to get down to the nitty-gritty of the 'why' and what is the function of melanin. I'm sure its not just so we can have beautiful skin color, although that is an added benefit.
There has to be a practical and natural reason for this. There have to be beneficial properties of melanin or any other form of color as it appears in what we know as nature. What are they?
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