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[DIGEST: New Scientist, Smithsonian, LiveScience]

Culture plays a role in all aspects of our lives. Whether you’re an American eating sushi for the first time, a Chinese person deciphering English verb tenses, or a Western woman traveling to a country where women are typically veiled, our culture informs our preferences and expectations. But it can affect our biology as well. Humans have the ability to adapt to different environments, which explains how populations in climates with greater sunlight developed darker skin to protect the skin from damaging UV rays, while populations in lower light climates developed lighter skin to enable greater production of vitamin D.

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