Mark Twain was a redhead and he said it best: While the rest of the species are descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.
Love ´em or hate ´em, there is nothing quite like a redhead. Sometimes adored, occasionally feared, these misunderstood creatures are a breed apart. Here´s the skinny on gingers.
Everyone´s basic hair pigment is red
Yep, if you are one of the crueler types who make fun of our ginger friends, the joke´s on you. From the darkest African hair to the lightest Scandinavian hair, everyone is a redhead to the core. This is why you will occasionally see a brunette man growing a ginger beard. It´s also why a blonde who wants dark hair will need to dye his or her hair red before adding the brown.
Redheads handle pain differently to other people
Redheads process anaesthetics very quickly. This means that they are more at risk of waking up mid-surgery, are far more quick to wake up after being under general anaesthetic, and often need a higher dosage of local anaesthetic to numb the area. Redheads possess a gene called MC1R, which gives them a much higher pain thresh-hold than others. That means that if you want to hurt a redhead (and live), you better put more force into it than you would with a blonde or a brunette. On the other hand, redheads bruise more easily, so your handiwork will show much faster.
Redheads were once burnt at the stake
During the witch-hunts, red hair was seen as the mark of the devil, making redheads much more prone to being condemned and burned. Red hair was also assumed to result from an ´unclean´ pregnancy (meaning that a women fell pregnant during her period), and this alone was enough to result in the unfortunate ginger being burned alive. During the Middle Ages, red hair with green eyes was the sign of vampires and werewolves
Redheads have bad tempers
This one is debatable, but despite the (ironically loud and aggressive) protestations by redheads that this is a myth, the anthropologists aren´t so sure. During studies in which subjects were made angry, the heart rate and breathing rate of a redhead increased more often and more rapidly than their blonde or brunette counterparts. Whether this is in-born or whether a hot temper is caused by a lifetime of being teased about red hair, no-one is sure!
Red hair and blue eyes is the rarest combination on the planet
While less than four percent of the world´s population have red hair (Scotland is the highest, at around ten percent), most of these have brown eyes. As both red hair and blue eyes are recessive genes, finding the two in combination is about as common as finding a four-leaf clover. Red hair and blue eyes occurs in less than one percent of the world population.