The Myths and History of Red Hair

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The Neanderthal Man

The October 2008 issue of National Geographic magazine

Genetic analysis of Neanderthal remains has confirmed that Neanderthals carried the gene for red hair and that at least some of them would have had hair of that colouring.

This information led to a visual makeover for Neanderthals, illustrated, most notably, by the red-haired, green-eyed model that appeared on the front cover of the October 2008 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Interestingly, a recent study has also shown that between 1 and 4 percent of the Eurasian human genome comes from Neanderthals. Suggesting that Neanderthals and modern humans interbred at some point. Maybe today's red hair comes from this liaison.

Stan Gooch

One of the most noted, and controversial, proponents of the red-haired Neanderthal theory was Stan Gooch. He first predicted that Neanderthals would be found to have had red hair way back in 1989 and in his book "The Neanderthal Legacy" he built on this basic premise to paint a vivid, and often farfetched vision of human history. It was a book that veered wildly from the established scientific view of human development, but it was nevertheless interesting and strangely thought provoking. I found it both fascinating and amusing in equal measure.

In it he stated that:

Neanderthals were red-haired and semi-nocturnal.

That they worshipped the moon.

That, as a result of interbreeding, modern humans are a mix of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon genes.

That Neanderthals were left-handed, as well as left-leaning politically speaking - as opposed to the right-handed, rightwing Cro-Magnons.

That both Jewish people and redheads contain more Neanderthal genes than the general population and that the Nazis were subconsciously trying to eradicate the Neanderthal genetic legacy.

That evidence for mankind's dual history can be seen in the Genesis story of Rebekah. A woman who gives birth to two twins, representing two nations. The firstborn, Esau, covered with red hair representing the Neanderthals and the second born, Jacob, representing the Cro-Magnons.

That many reported sightings of wild men "specifically" mention red hair.

And that "in medieval times in Europe, the aristocracy used to go hunting wild men in the forests. When the supply of wild men ran out, they turned to hunting red foxes - that's where fox hunting today comes from."

Interestingly he also stated that the "very large majority of individuals sacrificed in bog rituals and other ceremonies to ensure the fertility of crops or whatever, throughout Europe and the Middle East and during the last thousand years, were redheads."

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