Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Red Haired Neanderthal

I'm currently messing around in our deep, deep past, trying to get a fix on the roads that humans have traveled for a new non-fiction book to be called Road through Time.

One of the delightful things is to discover that the red-haired genes I carry--once having redhair myself and having given birth to a red head--may come from Neanderthals.

Seems recent research into comparisons between European genomes and that of Neanderthals show that about 4 per cent of current European descendants have some of the cave men's genes.

That reminds me of what McGill archeologist Michael Bisson told me nearly 15 years ago when I did an article on evolution at the university for the alumni magazine.  He suggested then that they probably had lots of body hair and were fair-skinned, traits that would have been useful in Ice Age climates and where the days are short for a much of the year since fair skin allows easier Vitamin D production.

Lee laughed when I told him: needless to say he's not a red head. 

The drawing, BTW, is a recreation by National Geographic staff. 

1 comment:

Chuck Morse said...

In the interest of an open dialogue with a quest for truth:

The Monkey Trial - Evolutionary Politics in the post-Traditional Age by Chuck Morse