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Thursday, March 17, 2011

More on unexpected human phenotypes

The children below are from the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. They aren't mixed; despite their dark complexions children are very often born with blond hair:

Normally as the children age, though, their hair darkens, turning a dark brown or black. In some cases, such as this woman, it remains a sort of dark reddish-brown:

As far as I know, the genetics of this hasn't been investigated, but this phenomenon is also seen among the Aboriginals of nearby Australia, where blond children and teenagers have been noted, especially among the desert tribes, for a long time.

Incidentally, the people of New Guinea and the Solomon Islands (or at least Bougainville Island, which is close to the Solomon Islands) were recently found to possess some truly exotic ancestry--they still retain genes that appear to be from a newly-discovered prehistoric species of humans called the Denisovans. Since the only known fossil remains of the Denisovans have been found in Siberia, that either suggests the ancestors of the New Guineans/Bougainvilliers took the scenic route when they left Africa (and weren't adverse to getting they freak on with the nearest cavemen), that the Denisovans were much more widespread throughout than just Siberia, or the ancestors of the Islanders absorbed some group that had already bred with the Denisovans.

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