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Thread: Red Hair in the British Isles

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    Red Hair in the British Isles

    My question is one that i've wanted answers to for a very long time and hopefully posting here will give me some answers. I have heard from many people and in reading that the original British, when the Romans landed were described as having red hair, though obviously not all.

    So I have always taken this to be a 'celtic' trait. The red hair, freckles and pale skin. Yet I hear that the Anglo-Saxons also had red hair amongst their populations. So my questions are, is there anyway to differentiate red hair from the indigenous 'celtic' populations, to the influx of Anglo-Saxon people's? Did the red, hair, freckles and very pale skin look you see originate from the indigenous british or from the anglo-saxons?

    Thanks for any input.

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    Senior Member Wynterwade's Avatar
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    Did the red, hair, freckles and very pale skin look you see originate from the indigenous british or from the anglo-saxons?
    Both or Neither depending on if you include their common ancestor as one of them or a separate group, .

    Estimates on the original occurrence of the currently active gene for red hair vary from 20,000 to 100,000 years ago.[27][28]
    A DNA study has concluded that some Neanderthals also had red hair, although the mutation responsible for this differs from that which causes red hair in modern humans.
    I do know that they found human remains in Britain from a couple thousand years ago and the body had red hair. (Found in a bog) (this was before the Anglo-Saxons invasion- and by the way the invasion had about a 5% genetic influence- at most- in parts of eastern england)-

    So I have always taken this to be a 'celtic' trait.
    Celtic is a linguistic/cultural group and not a race. The Celts once stretched from Ireland to Ukraine to Turkey to Spain.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celts

    is there anyway to differentiate red hair from the indigenous 'celtic' populations, to the influx of Anglo-Saxon people's?
    I doubt it.

    Redheads constitute approximately 4% of the European population.[8] Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads; 13% of the population has red hair and approximately 40% carries the recessive redhead gene.[9] Ireland has the second highest percentage; as many as 10% of the Irish population has red, auburn, or strawberry blond hair.[10] It is thought that up to 46 percent of the Irish population carries the recessive redhead gene. Red hair reaches frequencies of up to 10 percent in Wales.

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    I once read somewhere that red hair is a CM thing

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    I once read somewhere that red hair is a CM thing
    That is very interesting- I would love to know where you read this.

    A 2003 sequencing on two Cro-Magnons, 23,000 and 24,000 years old Paglicci 52 and Paglicci 12, mitochondrial DNA, published by an Italo-Spanish research team led by David Caramelli, identified the mtDNA as Haplogroup N.[18] Haplogroup N is found among modern populations of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, and represent the northern branch of the out of Africa migration of modern humans.
    And by the way Gunwi, modern Europeans are a mixture of Neanderthal, Homo-Sapiens and Cro-Magnon (you can actually see the skull differences in the classification section on this site). While modern Sub-Saharan Africans are only Homo-Sapiens- so this is why it is possible that Red Hair came from Cro-Magnons.

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    Red Hair

    Red Hair is due to a fundamental recessive genetic mutation that affects the MC1R protien that affects hair color. I do believe it is found in all portions of the World's population, but it is predominate in Western and Northern European populations. Hence its greater frequency in these populations.

    There is also the fashion aspect, whereby numerous individuals have taken a fancy to red hair and use various types of hair dye to produce it. Henna and other substances to produce it was used extensively in the ancient world. In the modern world, various chemical concoctions are now produced to create it. From a fashion stand point, it is the second most popular hair coloring next to Blonde...

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    Thanks for the replies people. Its a little clearer to me now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunwi View Post
    My question is one that i've wanted answers to for a very long time and hopefully posting here will give me some answers. I have heard from many people and in reading that the original British, when the Romans landed were described as having red hair, though obviously not all.

    So I have always taken this to be a 'celtic' trait. The red hair, freckles and pale skin. Yet I hear that the Anglo-Saxons also had red hair amongst their populations. So my questions are, is there anyway to differentiate red hair from the indigenous 'celtic' populations, to the influx of Anglo-Saxon people's? Did the red, hair, freckles and very pale skin look you see originate from the indigenous british or from the anglo-saxons?

    Thanks for any input.
    Yes, red hair is predominantly a Celtic trait, but that doesn't restrict it to only them. Celtic people have the highest occurrence of red hair, but there are many Germanic people who are red-heads too.

    These are the principal physical traits attributed to the Anglo-Saxon phenotype.
    - Pale skin
    - Straight to curly and often blond hair but brown and red hair are present too.
    - light(-mixed) eyes
    - Tall, ectomorph-mesomorph
    - High forehead
    - Mesocephalic, narrow-faced
    - prominent cheek-bones
    - Very narrow-nosed

    Quote Originally Posted by The Aesthete View Post
    I once read somewhere that red hair is a CM thing
    Yes it is common in the Bruenn and Dalo-Faelid phenotypes, both are CM types.
    Last edited by Juthunge; Friday, February 3rd, 2017 at 12:19 AM. Reason: Please avoid posting a reply to your own post. Use the edit function instead.

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