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Magazine

In Nature

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We think of this world as only having one type of skin, our skin. On the contrary, there are multiple species of animals, fruits, vegetables, and even tree trunks with skin types of their own. The sperm whale is commonly referred to as the animal with the most formidable and thickest skin type. What does our skin type say about us? Does the color and density or even complexion matter?

If we look towards nature, we can learn so much. Just in the animal kingdom alone, there are so many skin colors, textures, and appearances. Take, for example, the giraffe. This gentle giant is born with spots that are particular to no one but itself. Trees have so many different bark types that it would be almost impossible to categorize them in one sitting.

Many of the fruits and vegetables we eat are from varied species, skin colors, and textures. Does this stop us from eating them? Take, for example, the fruit Salak. It's rough and textured exterior hides a delicious interior that is often used as an alternative for grape-less wine. The Rambutan is another fruit that hides its delicious antioxidant-rich center with a strange-looking skin. Peel it back, and you have yourself a sweet and sour treat that tastes similar to a grape. Animals like the sperm whale are known for having the toughest skin in the entire animal kingdom. Most whales have 35 centimeters between the outside and in, making them tough and resilient towards many predators. According to the National Wildlife Federation, "The whale is generally gray with wrinkled, prune-like skin covering a torpedo-shaped body. The blunt head of the sperm whale accounts for a third of its body length, and much of it is filled with a waxy, oily substance called spermaceti that lies above and in front of the skull. This substance once was used for fine lubrication and for fueling lamps."

Crocodiles are hunted furiously by men for their skin. In many fashion circles, crocodile skin is a hot commodity. Even though this practice is illegal in most countries, it's still done to appease many known fashion retailers. Considered an exotic leather, it only compromises as 1% of the world's leather production.

Leather production from animal skins has multiple environmental footprints that threaten ecosystems and species alike. Thankfully, this trend is finally being done away with. Stores and brands like Macy's, Stella McCartney—and even the entire state of California—have banned the sale of animal fur items. Even the Queen of England has pledged not to wear fur. 

The Rainbow eucalyptus tree is endemic to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea and is a perfect example of how multiple colors can live together in harmony. Over time and with growth, the bark of this tall tree morphs into a kaleidoscope of beautiful colors that exist peacefully with one another. If we follow this natural example, we can look at each other as part of the earth's diverse offerings instead of focusing on how our differences can divide us. If we were all the same, we would be monochromatic versions of the same color, which would strip away any sense of excitement or life.