Saturday, 6 June 2009

Natural Blondes, an Endangered Species

Last month (May 2009), I happened to be in Trondheim, Norway, during their National Day on the 17th of May. It was brilliant sunshine, nice and warm and 20 hours of daylight on top of that. The 17th was an amazing Sunday. It seemed like every citizen of Trondheim spent the day in the streets, most of them wearing traditional clothes that looked awesome (and I was told they cost a fortune)! It felt a bit like a time travel to the eight(ish) century, apart from the fancy sunglasses.

Of course, I took some pictures, which you can look at on my Flickr site. When I was sorting my photographs after I came back, this one caught my eye:

Photo by Martin A. Trefzer, Trondheim, Norway, 2009.

I thought the female half of this family with their equally blonde hair glowing in the sun, the traditional dresses and the fancy sunglasses looked great. When looking at the picture I remembered a story I once heard about natural blonde hair: due to the fact that the gene that is responsible for fair hair has recessive alleles, a recent scientific study from 2002 concluded that the last natural blonde baby will be born in 2202 in Finland. Stories about the disappearing blond gene have apparently periodically surfaced in media and press since 1865.

So it seemed to be a reasonable conclusion to mark natural blondes as endangered species. I came across three articles that are worthwhile reading:

Corrected-Cavegirls were first blondes to have fun

Encyclopedia Galactica: "Blond"

Encyclopedia Galactica: "Disappearing Blonde Gene"

The approaching extinction of the blonde gene lead to (fear in the male population ;-)?) wild (scientific?) discussions and conclusions: do blondes have more fun? Are blondes more successful? Are blondes more or less intelligent? etc.

I thought the most amusing theory came from Peter Frost, a Canadian anthropologist, who (according to Times) beliefs that the reason for the first blonde women to appear was when human society split up into hunters (men with a high death rate) and housekeepers (an army of women, who had to develop outstanding features in order to attract the few men left). Maybe he wrote the paper when he was 16?

Well, I was quite relieved on behalf of humanity and myself that the alleged World Health Organisation (WHO) study on the disappearing blonde gene turned out to be a hoax. The WHO issued a formal denial of such a study in 2002. Whether the blondes are relieved now I don't know. Some might have loved to be a bit special. I say look on the bright side! Despite globalism, our good old genes will keep us diverse and interesting. Now enjoy your weekends with minds at ease!

What the hell is the correct spelling 'blond' or 'blonde' ?!?

2 comments:

klixmix said...

Hei MAT,

as I already told you I love your pics about Norway! They woke up my old craving for a holiday in Scandinavia...as you know I love the North.

Regarding your spelling problem:

It seems as it doesn't matter whem you look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blond

but leo says something different:

http://dict.leo.org/ende?lp=ende&lang=de&searchLoc=0&cmpType=relaxed&sectHdr=on&spellToler=on&chinese=both&pinyin=diacritic&search=blond&relink=on

http://dict.leo.org/ende?lp=ende&p=thMx..&search=blonde

so long and thanks for all the fish!

MAT said...

Yeah, those were pretty much my sources of knowledge too. I might ask one of the chaps tomorrow ;-) ...