Fact vs. Myth
There are many myths about Redheads, both positive and negative, but there are also many interesting facts as well.
- Temperment: A common belief about redheads is that they have fiery tempers and sharp tongues. In Anne of Green Gables, a character says of Anne Shirley, the redheaded heroine, that "her temper matches her hair", while in The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield remarks that "People with red hair are supposed to get mad very easily, but Allie [his dead brother] never did, and he had very red hair."
During the early stages of modern medicine, red hair was thought to be a sign of a sanguine temperament. In the Indian medicinal practice of Ayurveda, redheads are seen as most likely to have a Pitta temperament. In studies no difference in the temperament of redheads has been shown at all.
- Extinction: Is time really running out for the redheaded race? A 2007 report in The Courier-Mail, which cited the National Geographic magazine and unnamed "genetic scientists", said that red hair is likely to die out in the near future. Other blogs and news sources ran similar stories that attributed the research to the magazine or the "Oxford Hair Foundation". However, a HowStuffWorks article says that the foundation was funded by hair-dye maker Procter & Gamble, and that other experts had dismissed the research as either lacking in evidence or simply bogus. The National Geographic article in fact states "while redheads may decline, the potential for red isn't going away".
Red hair is caused by a relatively rare recessive gene, the expression of which can skip generations. It is not likely to disappear at any time in the foreseeable future.
- Alien hybrid theory: There’s a conspiracy theory that redheads are alien-human hybrids. One article asks "think about it: Why did several kings and queens of Europe have red hair even though, percentage-wise, redheads are fairly rare? " This is only one of many reasons the conspiracy theorists give for stating that redheads may in fact be an alien race. The real explanation for this is obvious to anyone who understands genetics and royalty however. Royalty throughout history in all parts of the world was notoriously incestuous and inbred. This means that once just one person with redheaded genes getting into the mix could easily result in a royal family producing many redheads throughout future generations. After all, red hair is dominant to blonde hair, which makes this situation even more likely.
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