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The skin color is about right. Not so sure about the eyes (source: Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)). There seems to have been a succession of changes to hair, eye, and skin color within a relatively restricted area of Europe. These changes then spread outward, the changes to eye color being apparently the earliest. Ancient... Read More
Venus of Willendorf (30,000 – 27,000 BP). Is that a special headdress … or peppercorn hair? (source: Matthias Kabel) Europeans already had blue eyes while still hunter-gatherers. This is what we’ve learned after retrieving ancient DNA from two Mesolithic individuals, one from Luxembourg, dated to 8,000 years ago, and another from Spain, dated to 7,000... Read More
When did early Europeans acquire their palette of eye colors? And their palette of hair colors? That question may soon be answered with retrieval of ancient DNA. (source: Dipoar) As the new year begins, I’m particularly interested in the following topics. When did Europeans begin to look European? It seems that this evolution took place... Read More
Inheritance of eye color doesn’t follow a simple Mendelian model. Although the blue-eye allele (C) is less dominant than the brown-eye allele (T), CT heterozygotes aren’t necessarily brown-eyed and CC homozygotes aren’t necessarily blue-eyed. Even TT homozygotes are sometimes blue-eyed. There is also a sex difference, with women having a more diverse palette of eye... Read More
Averaged face of blue-eyed male subjects (left). Averaged face of brown-eyed male subjects (right). Czech population. (Kleisner et al., 2010) Karel Kleisner’s team is continuing its work on eye color, face shape, and perceived personality traits: We tested whether eye color influences perception of trustworthiness. Facial photographs of 40 female and 40 male students were... Read More
Hair and eye color diversity is unusual in two ways. It’s confined to Europeans. And it seems to be linked to prenatal feminization. Europeans are distinguished from other humans by a diverse palette of eye and hair colors. I’ve argued that these color traits arose from intense sexual selection of women in ancestral European environments... Read More
Although blue eyes are more recessive than brown eyes, eye color does not follow a simple recessive/dominant mode of inheritance. There is a wide range of intermediate hues. As discussed in my last post, one puzzle of human evolution is the diverse palette of European hair and eye colors. Although these two polymorphisms have largely... Read More
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