What Are The Origins Of Red Hair?

Where Did Redheads Originate From?Accounts of people with red hair can be traced back through history to ancient Greek and Roman periods. Red hair has been found among ancient Chinese and even found to be common among some Polynesian tribes. Overall 1-2% of the population at any given time have red hair with 5-6% of red heads being found in Northern and Western Europe. So where did red hair actually come from?

Red hair is by far the least common natural hair color and the highest concentration of red heads today live in Northern and Western Europe. The largest concentration of red heads can be found in Scotland which boasts a 13% red headed population.

Red hair is actually the result of a genetic mutation which is also responsible for fair skin and freckles. In 2001 research indicated that the gene for red hair possibly began its origins with none other than Neanderthal man. Red hair is actually caused by a mutation in the Melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1r), which tells cells to produce either a lighter or darker pigment of melanin called eumelanin. People with the mutation of the MC1r gene actually produce another melanin called Pheomelanin which is responsible for the lighter red/brown pigments.

While medieval beliefs often thought that red heads were the sign of sexual desire and moral degeneration; science has told us that it’s just a mutated gene that produces the fiery red colors of the red head. A far cry from the witches, werewolves and vampires that were once thought to be the cause.

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