Melanesians of the Solomon Islands are one of the few non-European groups with blonde hair.
They are black island people who migrated thousands of years ago. Melanesia is a sub-region of Oceania that includes Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Island, and New Caledonia.
The name Melanesia was first used in 1832 to denote a group of islands distinct from Polynesia and Micronesia.
Melanesians were known for practising cannibalism, head-hunting, kidnapping and slavery, but with contact with Europeans, the population is now predominantly Christian. However, more than 90% lead rural lives.
Melanesian Blonde hair
The point of interest concerning dark skin and blond hair revolves around the Melanesian people of the Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands, an independent state within the British Commonwealth, are situated in the South Pacific, at the very heart of Melanesia, just Northeast of Australia, between Papua and Vanuatu.
Bright blond hair is present in approximately 5-10% of the indigenous Melanesian population of the islands, despite having the darkest skin outside of Africa.
The reason for this has been the subject of various theories, such as sun and salt whitening, high fish consumption, or genetic heritage resulting from mixed breeding with Americans/Europeans who founded the islands.
A genetic analysis of saliva and hair samples collected from 1209 residents of the Melanesian Solomon Islands was conducted by Sean Myles, a geneticist from Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Canada.
By comparing 43 blond Islanders to 42 brown Islanders, he discovered that the blondes possessed two copies of a mutant gene that is found in 26% of the island’s population.
The Melanesian people have a native TYRP1 gene that is partly responsible for blond hair and melanin and is entirely distinct from that of Caucasians, as it is not present in their genes.
This gene is recessive and more prevalent in children than adults, with hair tending to darken as individuals mature. These findings contribute to the notion that black Africans were the first homo sapiens and that all races emerged from the black African race.