The university of life

Blondes and Evolution

We daily receive questions about life from concerned citizens. Yesterday an elderly gentleman from the far North of Europe asked us why there are so many blonde people there. For the answer we have to look at the mother of all scientific theories, the theory of evolution.

A fact is that blond people are most predominant in Northern Europe. This cannot be a coincidence. We therefore looked at which selective pressures could cause the blonde hair phenotype to be successful and combine this with knowledge of other species. Although there have been some reports that the early human might have been a scavenger, by the time man reached the northern plains they were proficient hunters. Another successful hunter of the polar circle is the polar bear. This efficient hunting machine is perfectly camouflaged in its snow and ice infested surroundings. Its fur is a beautiful white. And here we have the answer we were seeking. Blonde haired people were more successful hunters during the lean winter seasons. They were less visible to the prey species. Their heads were covered in beautiful locks of blonde hair, interrupting the human outline against the white background.

But why are not all the people of the North blonde one might ask righteously. The answer is surprisingly simple. The blonde haired tribes invented the 'hat' relatively late, unlike other tribes. Tribes that wore hats had no advantage in being blonde. Their hair was covered after all.


Professor at the UOL

Go back