Meet The Melanesians, The World's Only Natural Blonde Haired Black People

Blond hair is mostly seen in people of Northern European ancestry around the world, but the Melanesians of the Solomon Islands have become famous throughout the years for their stunning physical features: gorgeous dark complexion and dazzling blond hair.

100,000 years ago, Melanesians migrated to a sub-region of Oceania extending from New Guinea Island in the South Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea. This region includes Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia, as well as most of the islands northeast of Australia.

Dark skin and blond hair are found in about 5 to 10% of the Solomon Islands' indigenous Melanesians. Blond hair is more frequent in youngsters since hair darkens as a person grows older regardless of ethnicity. However, the stunning trait has drawn hundreds of researchers to the islands in an attempt to figure out what is causing the odd hair color.

There are a few theories... Until the truth was revealed, that is.

Scientists have ascribed the Melanesians' blond color to a possible cross-breeding with Europeans who were involved with the islands in previous centuries. Others suggested that the sun's bleaching rays or high salt levels in the water were to blame. Another notion blamed it on the heavy consumption of fish, which is a staple meal for islanders.

Melanesians are mostly Christian people that speak over 1000 languages including Creole and other Pidgin dialects. People's language variances have been used as a basis for research.

Sean Myles, a Canadian geneticist and assistant professor at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College made a revolutionary discovery. [Two] In 2004, he went to Melanesia for the first time to look into the region's hair gene and language peculiarities.

“They have these very dark skin and bright blond hair. It was mind-blowing,” he adds. “As a geneticist on the beach watching the kids playing, you count up the frequency of kids with blond hair, and say, ‘Wow, it’s 5 to 10 percent.’ That’s not very far off from the proportion of blond-haired people in Europe.”

Myles returned to Melanesia in 2009 with genetic epidemiologist Professor Nicholas Timpson of the University of Bristol. They collected hair and saliva samples from 1209 Melanesians over the course of many months. Eimear Kenny, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford's Bustamante laboratory evaluated the samples in September 2010.

They revealed that 26% of Melanesians in the Solomon Islands contained two copies of a mutant recessive gene more common in youngsters after comparing 43 blond islanders with 42 brown-haired islanders. The people have a naturally occurring TYRP1 gene which contributes to their blond hair and dark skin. It was also discovered to be distinct from the gene that creates blue eyes in African-Americans.

They looked at the genomes of 52 people from all across the world and discovered that the mutation is unique to Melanesians and not seen in Europeans. The Melanesians evolved blond hair on their own, not as a result of cross-breeding with native whites, a revelation Kenny described as "unexpected and exciting."

Dark pearls on the skin, white gold on the hair...

As per Bustamante’s laboratory, more research is needed to learn more about the Melanesian people's genetic information. They are looking for financial assistance to continue their studies.

“If we’re going to be designing the next generation of medical treatments using genetic information and we don’t have a really broad spectrum of populations included, you could disproportionately benefit some populations and harm others. For instance, the genetics of skin pigmentation might be different there too — not the same as in Europe or Africa, or India. We just don’t know.”

Melanesians are quiet people that have had little to no contact with the outside world.

Source of the information: Family Life Goals

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