Do you have any special gingers, carrot tops, orphan Annies or strawberry shortcakes in your life?
In recent years, it seems like redheads have been the brunt of plenty of jokes, but we think they’ve gotten a bad rep. In fact, their red and orange locks just might indicate that they’re slightly more interesting than us brunette and blonde-headed plebeians.
Though they are often seen as an anomaly, redheads have left just as much of a footprint in human history as the rest of us. For example, contrary to popular opinion, redheads didn’t simply emerge from the moorlands of Northern Europe. Even centuries ago, there were redheads in China, Russia, and even pockets of indigenous Africa!
That’s just one of the many interesting facts about these fiery-headed beauties. Check out the rest below!
#1. All redheads don’t have blue eyes.
Most people think of blue eyes when they think of red hair, but it’s not true. The most common eye color for redheads is brown, followed by hazel. Blue eyes and red hair is actually extremely rare.
#2. Redheads are mutants.
In the best possible way, of course. The recessive gene that causes red hair, MC1R, is actually a genetic mutation.
#3. Redheads don’t actually have a lot of hair.
It seems like many redheads have huge bushy manes, but in fact, they have less hair on average than brunettes and blondes. Brunettes have approximately 140,000 strands of hair, blondes generally have 110,000, and redheads have a mere 90,000. So why does their hair look so wild and bountiful? Red hair is usually thicker and coarser than the other hues.
#4. Today, redheads are pretty rare.
Though once more common, today redheads only make up 2% of the population (although, it’s 13% in Scotland). What’s the reason for this? Well, it’s simply due to the fact that the world’s population is more mobile and prone to emigration than they were in previous centuries. The redhead gene is recessive, and two mutated copies of the gene are required: The bottom line is, people are mating farther and wider than before, and that means there’s less of a chance for two carriers of MC1R to get together and produce a beautiful ginger baby.
#5. Redheads have had royal status.
Queen Elizabeth I was a famous redhead. In fact, many in the Tudor bloodline had golden red locks.
#6. Redheads have a strange relationship to pain.
The MC1R mutation causes an excess release of pheomelanin, which interrupts the brain’s receptivity to pain sensitive. In laymen’s terms, this means redheads have a high tolerance for pain. Interestingly enough, it also means that it takes more anesthesia to sedate them.