Trivia

Hard

The Opposite Of Albinism Is Called?

Alopecia X
Melanism
Velvetinism
Vitiligo

Answer: Melanism

The most readily identifiable pigmentation disorder in both humans and animals is albinism. Nothing stands out in nature more than a creature best known for a dark and relatively camouflaged body, like a crocodile or deer, stark white against the greens and browns of their habitat.

While albinism is a genetic variation characterized by a complete or partial lack of pigmentation, melanism is a genetic variation found in animals characterized by hyperpigmentation. In the photo here, as an example, you can see two European adders, Vipera berus, side by side. The two snakes are from the exact same species but one, with melanism, is jet black.

Not all melanism is a one-off genetic quirk, like a random black snake in a brood. It can also be adaptive. The most widely taught example of adaptive evolution—the changes in the peppered moth in the United Kingdom during the industrial revolution—is an example of adaptive melanism. As soot from the increasing number of factories darkened everything in London from building exteriors to tree bark, the peppered moth slowly became “sooty” itself, as its offspring with darker and more peppered wings blended in better to the dirty environment. This type of adaptive evolution in response to pollution is common enough that it even has a name: “industrial melanism”.

Another well known example of melanism is that of black panthers and jaguars. Long thought to be distinct feline species, modern genetic testing has revealed that the black jaguars of the Americas are actually regular jaguars, Panthera onca, with melanism. The same for black panthers in Asia and Africa, which are leopards, Panthera pardus, with melanism.

Trivia

Hard

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Funded An Expedition To Find What?

Trivia

Hard

Old Faithful, The Famous Yellowstone Geyser, Was Once Routinely Used For?

Trivia

Easy

Which Famous Scientist’s Family Has Won The Most Nobel Prizes?

Trivia

Hard

The World’s Largest Black Star Sapphire Spent A Decade As A?

Trivia

Easy

Inspector Gadget Was Voiced By The Same Actor Who Portrayed Which Of These Famous Spies?

Trivia

Very Hard

Which Of These Chemicals Is Considered The Most Bitter Compound In Existence?

Trivia

Hard

Ben Franklin Wasn’t Just A U.S. Founding Father, But The Founder Of Modern?

Trivia

Hard

An Entire Genus Of Spiders Is Named After The Cast And Crew Of Which Movie?

Trivia

Hard

Which Herbivore Stalks Its Food Against The Wind Like A Carnivore?

Trivia

Hard

The Modern Drinking Fountain Was Invented To Combat?