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Nina Jablonski  

Author of Skin: A Natural History; Anthropologist & Palaeobiologist

Nina Jablonski is a biological anthropologist who is recognized for her contributions to the understanding of primate and human evolution, especially to questions not answered directly from the fossil record.

Fascinated increasingly over the years by the important but unheralded roles of skin and skin pigmentation in evolution, she focused her research on the origins of mostly naked human skin and diverse human skin colours. In 2000, Jablonski and her collaborator husband, George Chaplin, put forward the dual cline theory (or vitamin D-folate theory) for the evolution of human skin pigmentation that accounts for why dark skin evolved under conditions of high ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in the tropics while lighter skin was favored under conditions of lower UVR nearer the poles.

Jablonski received her A.B. in Biology at Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Washington. She has held academic positions at the University of Hong Kong, The University of Western Australia, the California Academy of Sciences, and The Pennsylvania State University. She is an elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and has received numerous fellowships and grants including a Guggenheim Fellowship.

In addition to a body of more than 200 peer-reviewed scholarly papers and book chapters, Jablonski has written two popular books for adults: "Skin: A Natural History" (2006) and "Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color" (2012), and has co-authored two books for children, "Skin We Are In" (2018) and "It’s Just Skin, Silly!," which will be published at the end of 2023.

A dedicated public scientist and science educator, Jablonski received an honorary doctorate from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa in 2010 for her contribution to the worldwide fight against racism.

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