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This is a question Ginger

Do you have red hair? Do you know someone hit with the ginger stick? Tell us your story.

(, Thu 25 Feb 2010, 12:54)
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I actually
Quite like redheads. A nice coppery colour, or an auburn, is very attractive. I do share the British dislike of the human Wotsit, however.

Can somebody tell me why people always assume ginger hair is indicative of the Celtic fringe, though? I've seen loads of people, mainly Americans it has to be said, talking about "Irish redheads". All the Irish I've ever met have been properly dark. Same for the Welsh and as I come from Scottish stock and all that side of my family are also dark, I'm a bit confused as to where this came from.

If anything, red hair would be a Scandinavian trait, since it's a form of blond. That would actually make the English more susceptible to it since they've got higher proportions of Saxon/Danish descent.

Ca't say I'm expecting too many serious responses, but I am genuinely interested.
(, Wed 3 Mar 2010, 11:03, 9 replies)
Well as to the dark hair in the Irish
there was a tradition that it came from wrecked Spanish sailors who married into the population. So you'd have clans with dark hair i.e. the Black Mulvihills. I'm pretty sure that Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads in the population- 13% around I think. On the other hand travel has meant there has been enough intermarriage that distinctions are probably beoming fewer.

Checked wikipedia (font of all knowledge) and apparantly Scotland and Ireland have the highest rates in the world, and from own knowledge of history red hair was common amongst the Celts

Edit: oh and as to the blond/red hair point, I'm pretty sure the two aren't linked. Red hair has its own gene, and is not dependent on whether you are blond or not- two blond haired people won't have a red headed child (unless they each have a recessive redhaired gene). So higher rates of blond hair won't lead to more red heads in theory at least
(, Wed 3 Mar 2010, 11:10, closed)
Vitamin D
You get vitamin D from either exposure to the sun, or from eating lots of red meat. Scandinavian countries where people have traditionally got blond hair are like that because that's as far north as you can grow grain. Diets consisting of mainly vegetables and grain need to be supplemented with vitamin D. As people's bodies are covered most of the times at these latitudes the most exposed place to the sun is their heads. Blond hair manages to transmit more light to the scalp than dark hair, while still being insulating from the cold. Further south the weather is warmer, fewer clothes are worn which allows more of the body to get the rays and make vitamin D, so blond hair isn't needed and dark hair reigns as a way to stop the top of your head burning in the midday sun. Further north you get diets consisting largely of meat and you then have enough vitamin D entering the body through the food, and you get dark hair people once again, like the Inuit.

Scotland is far enough north for the people to grow grain and need help with vitamin D, but not far enough to generate blond people. Hence the red hair, which is sort of half way between dark hair and blond hair.
(, Wed 3 Mar 2010, 13:03, closed)
Red genes
Red/ginger hair and pale skin is caused by a mutation in a gene called MCR1. The mutation can arise spontaneously in different poulations, so not all red heads have to be of Celtic origin. It isn't a form of blond though, it's controlled by a separate allele (variant of a gene) that is different to the allele (or alleles plural, possibly) that confers blondeness. There are redheaded Scandinavians because there are redhead alleles in the Scandinavian gene pool, although these may well be a different sort of mutation to the Celtic redhead version.
Researchers did find, after studying some ancient DNA, that even Neanderthals had mutations in their version of the MCR1 gene, meaning there were ginger neanderthals too. The research also helps to show that Neanderthals did not directly contribute to the modern human gene pool, since the mutation is at a different place along the gene to the one found in modern humans.
Hope that helps answer your question
(, Wed 3 Mar 2010, 14:04, closed)
In that case,
I stand corrected, red hair is not hair on the way to being blond, but rather a separate step which is, in certain situations, more advantagous than blond or dark hair.

The wikipedia article is quite good.

(, Wed 3 Mar 2010, 14:17, closed)
Having some Irish in me (ho-ho) I can safely say
most Irish people I've come across (ho-ho) are dark haired... usually blue eyed too.

Personally I think most of the gingers in the world come from Kettering. Loads of um in Kettering.
(, Wed 3 Mar 2010, 16:38, closed)
Which would perhaps correspond
with Corby being a shithole full of Glaswegian emigrants?
(, Thu 4 Mar 2010, 0:59, closed)
I was reading
that the various sub-groups of people native to the British Isles aren't as genetically different as they generally think.

Apparently what happened is that archeologists might find, for example, that 10,000 years ago burial mounds only existed in the south of England, but 5,000 years ago they were in the north of England as well. Thus they'd conclude that the burial mound culture must have conquered the north of England and forced the existing people out.

But having done genetic tests and found not much difference, they now think that what happened was more likely that either the people in the north of England adopted the practice of burial mounds, or the burial mound culture conquered them and became the ruling class, rather than wiping them out (much like the Normans conquered England).

I wish I had a reference for this :(
(, Wed 3 Mar 2010, 20:52, closed)
er, what about older chambered cairns in Scotland?
... not claiming that the Scots invented them or anything daft (given that the Scots didn't arrive til the Dark Ages) but if chambered burial cairns were built in Dumfriesshire/Aberdeenshire/Orkney etc in the Neolithic period, then the story of diffusion of culture through the British Isles after the last Ice Age may be just a bit more complex...
(, Wed 3 Mar 2010, 23:25, closed)
Anything involving engineering or building or inventing
anything ever was done by The Scotch, particularly while they were being repressed by the Victorians, and had they remained independent after their Panamanian sojourn, Alex Salmond would these days wipe his arse with panda fur while the rest of the impoverished planet kneels before the might of his all conquering Jockotopia....or not the potato headed cnut, and don't get me started on Sturgeon.
(, Thu 4 Mar 2010, 1:04, closed)

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