« Betting | Main | Team USA »

Evolutionary Psychologists Prefer Blondes

New research indicates that blond hair and blue eyes evolved because they make you hott. Don't tell Toni Morrison! I don't actually understand, based on the article, what new evidence is supposed to be involved in this argument. This is more interesting:

A study by the World Health Organisation found that natural blonds are likely to be extinct within 200 years because there are too few people carrying the blond gene. According to the WHO study, the last natural blond is likely to be born in Finland during 2202.
To me, this indicates that by 2300, if not sooner, the fact that natural blonds once walked the earth is going to be, to most people, an implausible trivia fact, as if I went around maintaining that there used be to be natural blueheads until the 1920s and you never see them because there was no color photography.

UPDATE: Or perhaps there is no such WHO study.

February 28, 2006 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8345160fd69e200d83477b60c53ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Evolutionary Psychologists Prefer Blondes:

Comments

"there used be to be natural blueheads until the 1920s and you never see them because there was no color photography."

They are still amongst us.

Posted by: Petey | Feb 28, 2006 3:43:34 PM

"A study by the World Health Organisation found that natural blonds are likely to be extinct within 200 years because there are too few people carrying the blond gene."

Of course, if there is a real sexual selection effect favoring blondes, one would expect them not to go extinct after all...

Posted by: Petey | Feb 28, 2006 3:45:27 PM

Of course, if there is a real sexual selection effect favoring blondes, one would expect them not to go extinct after all...

They're being beaten at their own game by the blueheads.

And of course those nefarious fake blondes!

Posted by: flippantangel | Feb 28, 2006 3:47:29 PM

Yeah, the platinum blonde will never die out. So blonde hair will be very imaginable in 2200.

Also, even if sexual selection does favor blondes somewhat they can still die out, so long as *reproductive* selection does not favor them. Sex and reproduction have parted ways recently. There are just too few blondes to survive all the non-blonde genes in the dating pool unless they are reproductively isolated.

Posted by: MQ | Feb 28, 2006 3:50:20 PM

This supposed WHO study is a hoax. It has been going around for years now. There has been no such study about the the extinction of blonds.

Posted by: Hoax-busters | Feb 28, 2006 3:53:18 PM

The last blond will be born in 2202? What’s that, about 8 generations? Seems, uh, dubious.

Posted by: ostap | Feb 28, 2006 4:12:34 PM

I'd like to see the original copy of this, but yeah, it looks like a hoax.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Feb 28, 2006 4:31:37 PM

Here is an article about the mysterious imaginary WHO extinct blonde study:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A30318-2002Oct1?language=printer

Posted by: nonblonde | Feb 28, 2006 4:32:14 PM

It is based on a misunderstanding of inheritance, recessive genes, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, genetics, etc, but not an uncommon misunderstanding.

Meh. I think that the solution is to have journalists trained as an elite cadre of know-it-alls, picked from among the 3-year olds showing some innate talent, and isolated from the rest of society and given J. S. Mill-like educations in all fields of study, laboring long hours to learn enough to avoid being bamboozled by hoaxes and liars, until finally, at age 30 or so, they first get their job in some sort of reporter in a rural newspaper, and ascend to a semi-mystical status, and are able to discern truth and falsehood with a mere gaze.

Or am I thinking of Jedi?

Posted by: Julian Elson | Feb 28, 2006 6:24:14 PM

That's actually "grue"-head.

Posted by: jrp | Feb 28, 2006 8:34:36 PM

This is probably just elaborating what Julian said, but from Neil's link, this irritates me:

The reports said blond hair was caused by a recessive gene, so both sides of the family have to have it to extend the shade into the next generation. But too few people carry the gene to assure its long-term survival.

When only one side of the family carries the blonde genes, it's not like the gene freakin' vanishes. What you wind up with is a person with brown hair and a recessive blonde gene. If they later marry someone else with brown hair and a recessive blonde gene, 1/4 of their children will be blonde (and 1/2 will carry blondeness).

This is all assuming that you have strict recessive/dominant behavior; if hair color tended to mix like skin color, it'd make more sense to say that extremes would vanish eventually. (But of course extremely pale people seem to selectively marry other extremely pale people, so extremes of skin color may be preserved. Surely there's an evolutionary explanation for that.)

Posted by: Matt Weiner | Feb 28, 2006 10:58:47 PM

I'm wondering about the genetic pool containing people with mixed hair color: one color on their head and another for their pubic hair - and I'm putting aside those who may color their head hair. I know people like this exist with mixed color.

Is there a Mendalian explanation for this?

Does the 'dumb blond' sterotype (male and female) extend to blond public hair as well?

Posted by: JimPortandOR | Mar 1, 2006 3:06:24 AM

Yes, it's the sort of 'blending inheritance' nonsense that we should have put paid to by now. Unless the gene blondeness affects reproductive success its frequency in the population (absent mutation, immigration or emigration) will remain the same over the long term.

And I like the idea of Elson's Platonic Philosopher-Journalists. Or possibly Janissary Journalists.

Posted by: ajay | Mar 1, 2006 7:29:58 AM

Yeah, I can just see it...a cave woman was like...hey...I bet if I think hard enough then my hair will come out a different color, and then the boys will like me. That's the dumbest article ever.

Posted by: Corona Sherona | Mar 2, 2006 10:15:18 AM

If males were scarce when the blond gene first appeared and flourished - doesn't it seem more likely that it was an adaptive trait for males? Even a really hot female can only have so many babies, but a male surrounded by a bunch of available eager females could potentially get his blond gene into hundreds or thousands of babies in the next generation.

Or maybe blond cavedudes were treated differently by their peers in some way that helped them avoid hunting or fighting, so more of them survived than their brown haired friends.

Maybe the hot factor worked for blond females too - but I think the trait must have originally been distributed throughout the gene pool by a male.

Posted by: Hat | Mar 2, 2006 1:27:40 PM

No, no! I read it on Stormfront, it must be true!

Posted by: Jaybird | Mar 4, 2006 8:35:47 AM

I have curly medium brown hair, green eyes. My wife has straight light brown hair, brown eyes. We have two children: one wavy-haired redhead (brown eyes), one straight-haired dirty blond (gray eyes). The redhead is from my mother's side- she was a carrot top. But my older boy is not a carrot top- he's more a copper color. If he were a horse he'd be a chestnut. The blond is curious. And don't tell me he's not mine- I can tell you precisely when he was conceived and he looks like me. I expect that some geneticist can explain what happens when you get a light brown gene and a redhead gene. This is not simple stuff.

Posted by: browneyed dad | Mar 4, 2006 5:19:03 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.