As a small child perusing old physical anthropology books I would occasionally stumble upon images of people of Oceanian stock with light hair color. I would wonder: is this a biological or cultural feature? In other words, were people bleaching their hair? If it was biological, was it heritable, or was it simply malnutrition?
Aborigines and Melanesians: Naturally Blonde Hair and Dark Skin
Blond or fair hair is a hair color characterized by low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. The resultant visible hue depends on various factors, but always has some yellowish color. The color can be from the very pale blond caused by a patchy, scarce distribution of pigment to reddish "strawberry" blond or golden-brownish "sandy" blond colors the latter with more eumelanin. Because hair color tends to darken with age, natural blond hair is generally rare in adulthood. Naturally-occurring blond hair is primarily found in populations of northern European descent and is believed to have evolved to enable more efficient synthesis of vitamin D , due to northern Europe's lower levels of sunlight.
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Labels: human biodiversity , Pigmentation. Haloscan Comments. Crow Adam K. Webb Justin L.
Researchers have identified a gene that is responsible for blond hair in percent of the indigenous population of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. The common occurrence of blond hair among the dark-skinned indigenous people of the Solomon Islands is due to a homegrown genetic variant distinct from the gene that leads to blond hair in Europeans, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study identifying the gene responsible for blond hair in the Solomon Islands, a nation in the South Pacific, represents a rare case of simple genetics determining human appearance, and shows the importance of including understudied populations in gene mapping studies, said co-senior author Carlos D.