By Tracey Wallace of NaturallyCurly.com
Hair is simply amazing. The human body and the mechanisms by which it adapts to its environment are mind boggling, and our hair color, texture, porosity and everything else plays a massive part in how well we succeed in a particular environment (or at least it did before we started living in these air conditioned covered boxes).
We all love and nourish our hair, but it’s so easy to forget just how magical these dead cells growing from out of our scalp really are.
Enter the Melanesians, a native group of people living on the Soloman Islands northeast of Australia famous for their beautiful dark skin and naturally blonde hair. Yep, that’s right. They don’t sport weaves, wigs, extensions, permanent dye, temporary dye, some weird henna reaction, or whatever else anyone uses to get the blonde look that’s so typical of the caucasian persuasion. Ten percent of these islanders actually come by it naturally.
The odd combination has got scientists wondering about how such a color combo develops over time. According to the Global Financial Newswires, many scientists have long thought that their blonde hair was a result of a diet high in fish, perhaps bleaching by the sun and salt water, or a reminder of the island’s historic relations with people of European descent.
In fact, the blonde Melanesians have blonde that is unique solely to them. According to the study in which scientists compared 43 blonde hair islanders to 42 dark hair islanders, blonde Melanesians have a variant of a native gene called TYRP1 that plays an important role in the melanin biosynthetic pathway. This variant is completely separate from what causes blonde hair in Europeans, and doesn’t even exist in the European genetic set.
What’s truly beautiful in this fascinating discovery, as so perfectly stated by the study author Sean Myles, a geneticist at Nova Scotia Agricultural College, is that “it’s a great example of convergent evolution, where the same outcome is brought about by completely different means.”
And that makes hair of all textures, types and colors absolutely unique and absolutely beautiful.