For countless years, Caucasians have been known to have blonde hair, but as it seems, outside Europe, the Melanesians in the Solomon Islands are amongst the very few who have blonde hair. These black island people live in the South Pacific, have migrated several thousands of years ago, way before the Africans were slaves in America.
Extending from the west end of the Pacific Sea to the Arafura Sea, and east of the Fijian Islands, Melanesia is a sub-region of Oceania, and this region includes most of the islands directly north and northeast of Australia including the countries of Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and New Caledonia. Back in the 19th century, in 1832 to be exact, Jules Dumont d’Urville first used this name to signify an ethnic and geographical group of islands separated from Micronesia and Polynesia.
Like the Asmat Tribe, the Melanesian indigenous people were practicing cannibalism, kidnapping, head-hunting, and slavery, only until quite recently. Since contact with Europe, the Melanesian population is currently predominantly Christian, even though over 90% of the population lives in rural areas.
Due to the dark skin and blond hair, the Melanesian people in the Solomon Islands is a very intriguing topic. Being an independent state within the British Commonwealth, the Solomon Islands are located in the South Pacific, just Northeast of Australia and between Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.
Even though the native Melanesian people of the islands possess the darkest skin outside Africa, between 5% – 10% have bright blond hair. There are many theories of how the Melanesians got their blond hair; it ranges from the sun and salt whitening to the genetic heritage from being a mixed breed with American/European who has founded the islands or the high intake of fish.
Genetic analysis on saliva and hair samples from 1209 Melanesian Solomon Island residents was done by Sean Myles, a geneticist from Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Canada. After comparing 43 blonds and 43 browns throughout the island, Sean found that the blond residents carry 2 copies of a malformed gene which was present in 26% of the population. These islanders have a native TYRP1 gene which holds partial responsibility for their blond hair melanin. This is distinct to the Caucasians as this doesn’t exist in their genes. The TYRP1 gene is a receding gene that is more common in children than adults, as the hair darkens with age. This also contributes to the theories all other races came through the black African race, and that they were the first homo-sapiens.