Aborigines and Melanesians: Naturally Blonde Hair and Dark Skin

Melanesia: Solomon Island girls (photo courtesy of the -cropped-Flickr- Australian Civil-Military Centre http://www.acmc.gov.au/)

Naturally blonde hair is often associated with white or Caucasian people. However, there are groups of dark skin people who have naturally blonde hair also. Some of these groups include the Aboriginal Australians (Aborigines) and the Melanesians. I love this fact because it goes against the idea that one group or culture must look a certain way or stay in a certain category.

 The Aborigines have dark skin. Some of them also have blonde hair which tends to be straight, but can be curly. Scientists first believed they were descendants of Eurasians. In 2011, scientists found evidence against the theory from a sample of natural hair. The sample of hair, which was said to be more than 100 years old, helped scientists determine that Aborigines were descendants of Africans. The New York Times confirmed this finding:

"The Aborigines are thus direct descendants of the first modern humans to leave Africa, without any genetic mixture from other races so far as can be seen at present. Their dark skin reflects an African origin and a migration and residence in latitudes near the equator, unlike Europeans and Asians whose ancestors gained the paler skin necessary for living in northern latitudes."

Aboriginal Australian girls (photo courtesy of Flickr- Michael Coghlan (mikecogh) under CC BY-SA 2.0)
   Moreover, I searched to find a reason why the Aborigines have blonde hair. I couldn't find much information on the specific cause of the Aborigines' blonde hair. But, I've come up with my own theory. Because the Aborigines kept their population isolated from others, the possibility of blonde hair being introduced into the race by Europeans can be ruled out. I think the reason for the blonde hair is due to the fact that they live closer to the equator. As a result, the Aborigines are going to have blonde hair due to the bleaching from the sun. Once again, I am only guessing; I do not know for sure.

Melanesian (Vanuatu) boy (photo courtesy of Flickr- Graham Crumb) by CC BY-SA 2.0)

 Similarly, the Solomon Island Melanesians have dark skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair. The children often have curly blonde hair which may turn darker when they get older. Blonde hair is also found in many of the women as well. The blonde hair in Melanesians are linked to the gene TYRP1. CultivatingDiversity.org said, "This gene is known to be involved in pigmentation: mutations in TYRP1 can cause albinism in humans and coat colour changes in mice, dogs and horses." The article continues by explaining that the blonde hair variant found in TYRP1 is unique to the Melanesians.

Scientists are still debating on the cause of the blonde hair in Aborgines. Some of them say, the blonde hair is caused by mixing with Europeans during colonization. Others say it is due to a genetic mutation. I say, both the Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians are beautiful! I think it's nice to know that the Aborigines are descendants of Africans. It illustrates how many of us are spread all over the world. It also illustrates diversity.

What do you think?

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