Darwin’s Blondes

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Gentlemen, it is said, prefer blondes. So did cavemen.

Almost the only sustenance in northern Europe came from roaming herds of mammoths, reindeer, bison and horses. Finding them required long, arduous hunting trips in which numerous males died, leading to a high ratio of surviving women to men.

Lighter hair colours, which started as rare mutations, became popular for breeding and numbers increased dramatically, according to the research, published under the aegis of the University of St Andrews.

“Human hair and eye colour are unusually diverse in northern and eastern Europe (and their) origin over a short span of evolutionary time indicates some kind of selection,� says the study by Peter Frost, a Canadian anthropologist. Frost adds that the high death rate among male hunters “increased the pressures of sexual selection on early European women, one possible outcome being an unusual complex of colour traits.�

So why blondeness? That’s less clear. Frost, according to the article, says studies show blonde hair is an indicator for high oestrogen levels in women.

So far it’s all speculation, but fun. Sort of like Anna Nicole Smith’s date with the Supreme Court.