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Q: Origins of Redheads ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Origins of Redheads
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: balzac-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 25 Oct 2005 13:05 PDT
Expires: 24 Nov 2005 12:05 PST
Question ID: 584804
What are the origins of red-haired people?

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 25 Oct 2005 18:01 PDT

I don't often suggest a one-link answer to a well-priced question, but
in this case, the Wikipedia entry on Red Hair might have all the
information you're looking for:

Take a look, and let me know if this answers your question.  If it
doesn't, let me know what sort of additional information you're
looking for.

Cheers, from a researcher whose mom is a redhead with family origins
in Eastern Europe...


Clarification of Question by balzac-ga on 26 Oct 2005 07:33 PDT
The link you provided looks real good.  If you could maybe just give
me one other reliable source as a point of comparison, I'd be
satisfied.  Thanks!
Subject: Re: Origins of Redheads
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 26 Oct 2005 08:11 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Thanks for letting me know that the Wikipedia article gets you part way there.

Here are a few links to other articles on redheads, discussing both
the past and future of red-headedness.
The roots of red hair
by Jonathan Rees 

Dr. Rees is one of the key researchers on the genetics of redheads, so
this brief piece should be taken as quite authoritative.
Another genetics expert takes a look at the future of redheads, and
the possibility that they will become increasingly harder to find in
the modern world.

Note the links at the page bottom to other useful articles on redheads.

There's a good overview on the history of redheads in the section
labelled "Origins and Outcomes" (about halfway down the page):

And here's some of the latest research not about past or future, but
about some interesting observations on pain thresholds in redheads:

Oddly enough, redheads may be more pain-tolerant, but less temperature-tolerant:,3604,1567843,00.html
Ginger gene makes redheads more sensitive to the cold 

Hope those links tell you all you need to know (and then some).

But please don't rate this answer until you have everything you need. 
If there's anything else I can do for you, just post a Request for
Clarification to let me know.



search strategy -- Google searches on:

wikipedia redheads
"ginger gene"
mc1r redheads
balzac-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks so much for your help.  I couldn't find as much information as
you did, even though I spent a long time looking.  How long did it
take you to pull together all the info?

Subject: Re: Origins of Redheads
From: tcovert-ga on 25 Oct 2005 17:12 PDT

"In the UK red hair is generally associated with people of Celtic
descent, i.e Scotland and Ireland. It is believed the people of
Scotland came from 5 different ethnic groups who occupied or invaded
northern Britain in the dark ages. In all of recorded history,
red-haired people have never been mentioned as a group except by the

The 'Picts' were foes who the Romans fought and were described as
having red-hair and 'large limbs' by Roman historian Tacitus. Modern
historians with the help of anthropologists have placed red-hair as a
unique characteristic belonging to the Picts, who were characteristic
to what is now regarded as Scottish.

As far as the world-wide distribution of red-hair is concerned, it
would be fair to say that the majority may well have descended from
this North-Western European region, although as with all variations
between people, mutations in genes can occur and be maintained in any
population provided there is no detrimentus effect to the populations

Also see:

"RED hair may be the genetic legacy of Neanderthals, scientists believe.
Researchers at the John Radcliffe Institute of Molecular Medicine in
Oxford say that the so-called ?ginger gene? which gives people red
hair, fair skin and freckles could be up to 100,000 years old.

They claim that their discovery points to the gene having originated
in Neanderthal man who lived in Europe for 200,000 years before Homo
sapien settlers, the ancestors of modern man, arrived from Africa
about 40,000 years ago."


red hair origin
red hair neanderthal
Subject: Re: Origins of Redheads
From: pafalafa-ga on 27 Oct 2005 18:48 PDT

Thanks so much for the feedback and the stars....much appreciated.

As for how long I worked on this, it's a bit hard to say, since the
work was broken up (as most of my work is) into numerous small

Still, I would say roughly about 20-30 minutes searching, and then
another 20 minutes to pull together the raw information into a
polished answer.

Hope we'll see you back here one day soon,


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