I admit it – I was a bit shaken by a Sydney Morning Herald report on the probable extinction of a species on the decline: natural redheads.
Strictly speaking, I’m not a redhead. My hair has always been reddish – not the sort of color that earns the “Carrot Top” nickname (not very often, anyway). Nevertheless, I feel like a member of the tribe, so the prospect that the very last one of us may bite the dust around the end of the century is a sobering one.
That prediction comes from the UK’s Oxford Hair Foundation, which is affiliated with Procter & Gamble Hair Care, so this “scare” might be nothing more than a subtle way to promote red hair dye.
But if we’re to believe the Oxford scientists, the red hair gene is carried by only 4 percent of the world’s population. Adding to the problem is the fact that the gene is recessive, so when redheads get together with brown-hair mates, the generations that follow generally defer to the dominant brown-hair gene.
The solution, of course, is for redheads to seek redheaded mates so that come 2100 there will be plenty of our type still around. And this plan shouldn’t be too difficult to implement, because the Sydney report also notes that recent German research has found that redheads tend to be more sexually active than less passionate folk of other hair colors.
“Dyeing Breed” Sydney Morning Herald, January 2007, blogs.smh.com.au