At Benjamin Brothers, we love seeing the smile and relief on our clients’ faces when we repair their air conditioning system, or replace it with one that’s much more potent and powerful. At last, they can finally have a respite from the brutal, overbearing Florida sun!
But, if you think about it, isn’t it interesting that we’re so bad at dealing with the sun in the first place?
Just give it some thought — this is, after all, the planet that mankind was born on, and we’ve been here for thousands of years. Most animals do just fine and dandy in the sun, so why can’t most humans prevent themselves from getting burnt to a crisp unless they use manmade solutions such as sunblock? Why is it that we’re doomed to skin cancer if we’re not constantly evading the rays of our parent star?
We thought it was an interesting question, so we decided to do some research. Here are some reasons why the sun completely fries us, despite the fact that we’ve lived underneath it since the beginning of time.
Why Humans Just Can’t Handle the Sun
We Don’t Have Fur
First off, it’s important to clarify that this blog post is operating under the assumption that evolution has brought us to where we are, as it is the most prominent and well-substantiated scientific theory as to the origins of humanity. And, in mankind’s evolutionary journey, we gained one of our defining traits early on — an exterior of bare skin instead of fur.
Skin is one of our biggest strengths and weaknesses — on the one hand, it allows us to sweat, which is one of the key components to our survival. Due to our ability to sweat, humans can out-endure almost every animal at long distances. Did you know that a human would beat a horse if they were racing to the other side of the country? Yup, that’s because we sweat.
Unfortunately, bare skin also makes us total wussies when it comes to climate. Uncovered skin is exceptionally bad at dealing with extreme temperatures — it does hardly anything to protect us in the cold, and it gets totally roasted in the heat. So that’s one reason why we’re not very good in the sun — bare skin just isn’t made for it. But, bare skin provides enough other evolutionary advantages to where we’ve kept it over the years, opting instead to deal with harsh climate in our own ways.
Animals Don’t Do So Well, Either
So, it’s easy to wonder why we’re so inferior to animals when it comes to handling the sun. After all, most animals can spend hours and hours in direct sunlight, right? And how often do you see animals getting sunburnt, or developing skin cancer? It seems like most animals are just built for the sun while we, paradoxically, are not.
But, that’s not entirely true. There are actually plenty of animals that have a rough time in the sun, and most of them, coincidentally, also have skin instead of fur. Did you know that hippos are extremely susceptible to sunburns, and that’s why they spend most of their time in the mud, or submerged deep underwater? Yep, they get just as fried as we do, as do many other hairless animals, such as hippos and rhinos. Even animals who live in the great wide open sun-kissed plains of Africa spend a decent amount of their time seeking shade.
So that’s another thing to consider — while most animals handle the heat better than us, we’re definitely not alone.
Evolution Doesn’t Optimize
Again, using evolution for the basis of our assumptions about the human race’s origins, one can see why we haven’t quite evolved to tolerate the sun very well.
In a nutshell, the answer is that evolution isn’t an optimizing force. It doesn’t create the best possible specimens, it creates enough for a species to survive and procreate, nothing more, nothing less. Traits that are unfavorable to survivability are weeded out via natural selection, while the stuff that works gets passed on to the next generations.
In other words, humans never developed a strong tolerance to the sun because they found ways to deal with it, and at that point our genes basically said “good enough.” Early humans were undoubtedly afflicted by the sun’s rays, but they would have built shelters and found ways to survive in spite of it. Over thousands or millions of years, we continued to grow, but since the sun was never a lethal threat to humanity as a whole, we evolved merely to tolerate it.
Humans DID Evolve, But Only to a Certain Extent
It’s easy to wonder why the sun destroys us so badly when we spend a lot of time in it — but the reality is that humans have evolved, but only to a certain extent.
Humans did evolve to handle direct sunlight — people in sun-rich areas such as Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands developed darker skin which copes with hot sunlight far better than lighter skin does. Meanwhile, humans who lived in cold regions developed paler skin — this is so they could absorb more vitamin D when the sun showed itself, being more uncommon in cooler regions.
So, evolution did answer the call when humans needed it. However, evolution tends to take thousands of years to do pretty much anything, so eventually, humans started spreading all over the planet and intermingling before it could catch up. This has resulted in a lot of people relocating from where nature intended. If you have super pale skin, you can expect to get eviscerated by the sun’s rays if you live in a hot area, in the same way that people with darker skin are more likely to have vitamin D deficiencies in cooler climates.
But no matter your skin color or region where you live, one thing is for sure — everyone will be murdered by the sun if they spend enough time under its rays unprotected. While some will last longer than others, that’s just the nature of the beast.
Avoid the Sun With Air Conditioning Pasco County
There’s only so much existential pondering about humanity’s existence that you can do in one day, so we’ll wrap up this blog here and say the one thing that everyone can agree on — air conditioning is pretty awesome. And in somewhere like Pasco County, Florida, it’s very needed. We’d hate to imagine a Florida summer without the blessing of a good AC system, which is why we’re here to help anyone and everyone who’s in need of air conditioning repair, replacement, and installation. If you want a free quote of our services, or any questions about what we do, we urge you to contact us today!