Global warming is a strange, inexorable force determined to take away our sandy beaches, our ski resorts, our air conditioning and everything good in life. That’s what well-paid people who fly around the world in huge jet airplanes keep threatening.
And, wouldn’t you know it, now scientists are claiming that redheads may be wiped out in Scotland as the northern third of the island of Great Britain becomes sunnier as a result of climate change.
The theory goes that red hair is an evolutionary response among human beings to a lack of sunlight, explains the Daily Record, a Glasgow rag.
Red hair allows people who have it to obtain high levels of vitamin D from the sun in places where it doesn’t shine much.
“We think red hair in Scotland, Ireland and the north of England is adaptation to the climate,” said Alistair Moffat, who heads ScotlandsDNA, a genetic testing company. “We do not get enough sun and have to get all the vitamin D we can.”
Moffat added that fewer clouds and more sun would mean “fewer people carrying the gene,” according to the Daily Record.
Moffat did not say what would compel redheads to stop having babies, or what would make them stop passing ginger genes to their children — though it probably has something to do with global warming, too.
Another scientist, who didn’t want to be identified, also chimed in.
“I think the gene is slowly dying out,” the second expert told the Record. “Climate change could see a decline in the number of people with red hair in Scotland.”
The global population of redheads is low — maybe one or two percent. In Scotland, however, the percentage is estimated to be around 13 percent. That’s 650,000 people.
A 2013 study showed that over 20 million people across the United Kingdom and Ireland possess ginger genes that can (for now) produce ginger babies, according to The Telegraph.
The area surrounding Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, boasts the densest population of redheads. About 40 percent of the region’s people carry one of the three genes that produce red hair.
Others places where gingers dominate include northern parts of England. There’s also a completely random piece of Russia, notes the Guardian.