Darwin and Sexy Bristol Blondes
Darwin spent time researching whether blondes were more attractive than brunettes
Researchers going through ex-Cambridge legend Charles Darwin’s letters have found out that not all his work was weighty stuff. He spent a while considering the age old question: do blondes really have more fun? â€¨
â€¨He thought that the number of people with dark hair was increasing because brunettes were more likely to get married and have dark-haired kids, while blondes tended to stay single and childless.
He tried to find out how many blondes in Bristol were single and how many brunettes had managed to attract a mate (in Victorian terms a husband.)
The numbers showed that blondes were 1.5 times more likely to be single than married. Darwin worried that if blondes continued to fail to attract mates they would eventually die out.
Dr Alison Pearn, from the Darwin Correspondence Project at Cambridge University Library, said Darwin took the blonde question quite seriously.
"Darwin was fascinated by questions of hair colour and the role it might play in choosing sexual partners," she said. "He was keen to test whether English blondes really were more likely to stay single, with a resulting decrease in blonde hair in subsequent generations."
Researchers at the project are looking at 15 000 of the letters that Darwin wrote and received during his lifetime. The letters now sell for thousands.
In the end Darwin gave up, admitting his sexual selection theory was not as attractive as he’d once thought.