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Even Neanderthals preferred blondes: Study

Shortage of both food and males had caused northern Europe's women to evolve with flaxen hair.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2006 13:19 IST
Asian News International
Asian News International

Ever wonder why with so many blonde jokes making the rounds, brunettes still want to be flaxen haired and blue eyed? Well according to a new research, this is because blonde hair appeals to the Neanderthal hidden in most men.

Peter Frost, a Canadian anthropologist and author of the study, said that the study had found that a shortage of both food and males, had caused women in northern Europe, at the end of the Ice Age, to evolve with flaxen hair and blue eyes, so that they could stand out in a crowd, thus attracting more attention from the opposite sex.

"Human hair and eye colour is unusually diverse in northern and eastern Europe ... [and their] origin over a short span of evolutionary time indicates some kind of selection. Sexual selection is particularly indicated because it is known to favour colour traits," The Independent quoted him, as saying.

Another reason why there are at least seven different shades of blonde hair in Europe is because the environment skewed the sex ratio in favour of men, which meant that as there were more men than women, the 'fairer' sex would have to compete harder to find mates.

Such an imbalance, the researchers found, was bound to have increased the pressures of sexual selection on early European women, thus making the genetic change possible.

The study is published in the current issue of Evolution and Human Behaviour.

First Published: Feb 28, 2006 13:19 IST