Natural blond hair is a very rare feature, about only 2% of the population has it, and this 2% is spread only in Europe, Central Asia, and North America. The natural blond hair is mostly spread in children, and as they grow, their hair tends to get darker due to rising levels of eumelanin, a natural pigment that regulates the darkness of hair strands. But hold on for a moment, because we’re about to introduce you to the rarest blond hair’s type of people – Melanesians. They are dark-skinned with natural blond hair, and this makes them one of a kind.
The ‘Melanesia’ name was firstly used by Jules Dumont d’Urville in 1832 to denote an ethnic and geographical grouping of islands distinct from Polynesia and Micronesia.
Until recently, the indigenous Melanesian people practiced cannibalism, head-hunting, kidnapping, and slavery, like the Asmat tribe. However, with contact with Europeans, the population is now predominantly Christian.
Our part of the interest in this article is Melanesians of the Solomon Islands, which are situated in the South Pacific, the very heart of Melanesia, just Northeast of Australia, between Papua and Vanuatu, and it’s an independent state within the British Commonwealth. Although the indigenous Melanesian population of the islands has the darkest skin outside of Africa, between 5 and 10 percent of them have bright natural blond hair.
Several theories suggested that these people got their blond hair from sun and salt whitening, high intake of fish, or genetic heritage from mixed-breeding with Americans/Europeans that founded the islands. But a geneticist from Nova Scotia agricultural college in Canada, Sean Myles, conducted a genetic analysis on saliva and hair samples from 1209 Melanesian Solomon Island residents, and from comparing 43 blond Islanders and 42 brown Islanders, he discovered that the blondes carried two copies of a mutant gene that is present in 26 percent of the island’s population. The Melanesian people have a native TYRP1 gene that is partly responsible for the blond hair and melanin, which is different from those of Caucasians’ blond hair genes.
It’s a recessive gene and is more common in children than in adults, with hair tending to darken as the individual matures. That contributes to the theories that black Africans were the first homo sapiens an all races came out of the black African race.