Here is an interesting article for my fair-headed friends:
THE modern gentleman may prefer blondes. But new research has found that it was cavemen who were the first to be lured by flaxen locks.
According to the study, north European women evolved blonde hair and blue eyes at the end of the Ice Age to make them stand out from their rivals at a time of fierce competition for scarce males.
The study argues that blond hair originated in the region because of food shortages 10,000-11,000 years ago. Until then, humans had the dark brown hair and dark eyes that still dominate in the rest of the world. Almost the only sustenance in northern
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
“Human hair and eye colour are unusually diverse in northern and eastern
Frost’s theory, to be published this week in Evolution and Human Behavior, the academic journal, was supported by Professor John Manning, a specialist in evolutionary psychology at the
Frost’s theory is also backed up by a separate scientific analysis of north European genes carried out at three Japanese universities, which has isolated the date of the genetic mutation that resulted in blond hair to about 11,000 years ago.
The hair colour gene MC1R has at least seven variants in
Just how such variety emerged over such a short period of time in one part of the world has long been a mystery. According to the new research, if the changes had occurred by the usual processes of evolution, they would have taken about 850,000 years. But modern humans, emigrating from Africa, reached
Instead, Frost attributes the rapid evolution to how they gathered food. In
The increase in competition for males led to rapid change as women struggled to evolve the most alluring qualities. Frost believes his theory is supported by studies which show blonde hair is an indicator for high oestrogen levels in women.
Jilly Cooper, 69, the author, described how in her blonde youth she had “certainly got more glances. I remember when I went to
However, Jodie Kidd, 27, the blonde model, disagrees with the theory: “I don’t think being blonde makes you more ripe for sexual activity. It’s much more to do with personality than what you look like. Beauty is much deeper than the colour of your hair.”
Film star blondes such as Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Sharon Stone and Scarlett Johansson are held up as ideals of feminine allure. However, the future of the blonde is uncertain.
The Times Online www.timesonline.co.uk