Genes have a major impact on our appearance and the development of certain physical features. Traits such as: skin tone, nose shape, eye colour, height, hair texture and pattern have all been passed down through our genetic make-up. These distinct features can link us to our ancestors and be used to explain why our body looks the way it does. In fact, you might be able to tell your ancestry from your physical features.
If you’re curious to know how certain features relate to our ancestry, order a DNA genetic test from CRI Genetics to get started. Based on your results, we will explain some of the most predominant traits below.
Let’s explain how you can tell your ancestry with physical features:
1. Skin Tone
The most obvious physical trait that links us to our ancestors is our skin tone. Skin tone is defined by the genetic makeup of our body and is a genetic trait passed down from previous generations based on their geographic location.
This results in a variety of pigments and tones that uniquely alter the appearance of a person. Although the pigment is expected to change between the generations, the difference can be significant if a mutation occurs or a more dominant gene is introduced to the lineage.
2. Nose Shape
Another physical feature that is defined by our genetic pattern is the shape of our nose. This shape tends to vary and include a range of different sizes, lengths, widths, and structures due to where our ancestors lived. This trait has evolved from our ancestors because of the environmental struggles they had to overcome to survive and reproduce. Therefore, the nose would have been used to breathe and regulate the temperature of the body.
People who lived in colder climates (those from European descent) wouldn’t need a large nose to regulate their breath because they would be able to do it easily. This resulted in a narrow, sharp and pointy shape in comparison to the wider noses of people from warm climates that would’ve been essential to survive the warmth.
3. Eye Colour
The colour of our eyes is also a physical feature that can be linked to our ancestry and heritage. This trait is defined by where our elders were geographically location and if there has been a mutation introduced to the lineage. The genes that dictate eye colours is dependent on how much melanin is in the eye and the dominant trait carried by a child’s parents.
Certain eye colour variations (like blue and green) can be closely link to family history because of how rare it is. This colouring is typically caused by a unique mutation that developed in specific regions around the world. It’s important to note that more dominant genes (such as brown) can overtake mutations but the recessive nature of them may result in unexpected colour variations throughout the generations.
Our height is another physical feature that has been closely linked to genetics and ancestry. Height is a trait that’s hereditary and can therefore provide a number of clues to where our ethnic origin is. Our ancestry can be explained by height because of how the traits evolved to survive. For example, tall individuals have been linked to those of northern European or African tribes that had to handle livestock and travel long distances for food. The frequent travel and hard labour that these groups endured meant that their bodies had to be larger and more powerful to adapt.
However, those who are smaller in stature typically evolved from densely populated and closed hunter-gatherer societies like island communities. In these types of societies smaller individuals would be better adapt because they wouldn’t need as much food and would stop growing quicker. Therefore, the shortest members would be able to reproduce faster and live longer to pass on their genetic structure.