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In Africa, for example, red hair is selected against because high levels of sun harm untanned skin.
However, in Northern Europe this does not happen, so redheads can become more common through genetic drift.
Cultural reactions have varied from ridicule to admiration; many common stereotypes exist regarding redheads and they are often portrayed as fiery-tempered.
The term redhead has been in use since at least 1510. Jim Wilson of Britain's DNA study used a sample of 2,343 people, and found red hair occurrence of 6% in Scotland, with 35% overall carrying the allele and Edinburgh having the highest proportion at 40%. The Queen of Morocco, Lalla Salma wife of king Mohammed VI, has red hair.
Red hair (or ginger hair) occurs naturally in 1–2% of the human population.
It occurs more frequently (2–6%) in people of northern or western European ancestry, and less frequently in other populations.
Caucasian Tarim mummies have been found with red hair dating to the 2nd millennium BC.
Other blogs and news sources ran similar stories that attributed the research to the magazine or the "Oxford Hair Foundation".
However, a How Stuff Works 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.
In species other than primates, red hair has different genetic origins and mechanisms.
Red hair is the rarest natural hair color in humans.It is characterized by high levels of the reddish pigment pheomelanin and relatively low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin.