The Museum of Hoaxes
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Bonsai Kittens, 2000
Fake Fish Photos
The Olympic Underwear Relay, 1956
Rare planetary alignment decreases gravity, 1976
The damp spot that hoaxed a city, 1912
The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, 1959
A black lion: real or fake?
Dog wins art contest, 1974
The Case of the Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
Dead Body of Loch Ness Monster Found, 1972
The Disappearing Blonde Gene
Status: Hoax reported as news
Peter Frost has an article in the current issue of Evolution and Human Behavior in which he argues that the trait for blonde hair evolved 10,000 years ago in northern Europe because men found blonde women to be attractive--and because there were more women than men, the women had to compete for the men. (I'm simplifying his argument a lot.) But I'm not bringing this up to make a point about Frost's article. Instead, I'm bringing it up because the London Times discusses his article and concludes with this observation:

Film star blondes such as Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Sharon Stone and Scarlett Johansson are held up as ideals of feminine allure. However, the future of the blonde is uncertain. A study by the World Health Organisation found that natural blonds are likely to be extinct within 200 years because there are too few people carrying the blond gene. According to the WHO study, the last natural blond is likely to be born in Finland during 2202.

They're referring, of course, to the story of the WHO Blonde Report, which was revealed to be a hoax back in 2002. The gene for blonde hair is not actually disappearing, nor did the WHO ever sponsor such a study. Did the Times not realize it was a hoax, or did the reporter slip this in as a joke?
Categories: Journalism, Science
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 28, 2006
Comments (32)
This article with the same comment appeared on the Metro free newspaper.
Posted by Marco  on  Tue Feb 28, 2006  at  06:30 AM
the is halairous. but sad at the same time.
Posted by Evan  on  Tue Feb 28, 2006  at  12:23 PM
This is sort of funny, professional journalists taking hoaxes a real science.

To be scientific, the reason why men prefer blond women (supposedly) is because fair hair is often the softest, and humans go for prople with soft hair because it suggests that they are free of parasites and desieses.
Posted by Draconegia  on  Tue Feb 28, 2006  at  05:48 PM
the reporter was probably blonde too...
Posted by Ian  in  Malta  on  Wed Mar 01, 2006  at  05:41 AM
this is interesting even for another reason... the big italian newspaper "La Repubblica" published almost word by word the same article as the London Times, without giving any credit to the source... hoaxes and mistakes are great oppurtuinities of seeing the flock mentality of world newspaper in action... raspberry
Posted by Frank  on  Wed Mar 01, 2006  at  12:46 PM
When I first saw the title of this item, I thought it meant blond people have a gene that lets us become invisible.

What a pity that wasn't it. I've always wanted the ability to become invisible at will.
Posted by Big Gary, looking for a comb  in  Dallas, Texas, USA  on  Wed Mar 01, 2006  at  06:32 PM
"...too few people carrying the blond gene," hah. On a gullibility scale of 1 to 10, you're about a 15 if you believe that.
A gene can be in danger of dying out if, say, less than a couple of hundred individuals have it, not when a few hundred million individuals have it.
Also remember that blond hair is generally a recessive trait, which means that (probably) even more people have the gene, without having blond hair, than have the gene and have blond hair. This gets a little dicey because hair color is not controlled by a single gene, but you get the idea.
Posted by Big Gary, looking for a comb  in  Dallas, Texas, USA  on  Wed Mar 01, 2006  at  06:38 PM
Marilyn wasnt a natural blond.
Posted by jm  in  us  on  Fri Mar 03, 2006  at  11:01 AM
I would find this really funny if things like it werent so prevalent. Unfortunatly, right now there is a huge abuse and neglect of the teaching of science going on. This is just a little hoax or whatever you want to call it, but it underlines a more serious problem; when it comes to science (especially the natural sciences) the general public is totally ignorant. This is why this hoax got as far as it did and why scientists in the areas of biology, astronomy ect. are facing attacks from people who are totally ignorant of subject matter.
Posted by Thomas Finch  on  Tue Mar 07, 2006  at  12:17 PM
I know it's a minor detail, but it would help people looking for the story offline to know that the article was in The *Sunday* Times, which is the sister paper of The Times, but is edited and published separately, and is treated as separate in directories, reference books, indexes and the like. They share a website, but then so do The Guardian (Monday to Saturday) and its sister paper The Observer (which is not "The Guardian Observer", though some people online have called it that). Same is true for other British papers, such as:
The Daily Mail/The Mail on Sunday
The Mirror/The Sunday Mirror
The Daily Telegraph/The Sunday Telegraph
The Independent/The Independent on Sunday
and (this is the really strange one)
The Sun/The News of the World.
It's one of those quaint British things that we do to annoy and confuse foreigners ... ; )
Posted by Just Another Pedant  on  Thu Mar 09, 2006  at  07:08 PM
i saw this at Geraldo at large, i also thought if anyone knew it was a hoax...
Posted by Eva  in  New york  on  Fri Mar 10, 2006  at  07:20 PM
It's just as likely that blonde genes came from blonde people from an unknown source. Other continent, other star system, etc. Much of what science equates to spontaneous genetic creation may be genetic infusion.
Posted by fred  in  usa  on  Mon Mar 20, 2006  at  05:07 PM
I like redheads smile
Posted by NickPaPaGeorgio  on  Sat Mar 25, 2006  at  09:14 PM
Blondes are 3% of the adult population and Brunettes are 95%. 40% of the Brunettes have bleached themselves and assumed the name Blonde. These Bleached Brunettes are still Brunettes and the name Blonde is degraded by being forcibly associated with degraded Brunettes. Marilyn Monroe was a Bleached Brunette and all the images of her that you see everywhere are Bleached Brunette images. In her case the images are of a drugged/drunken murder/suicide which is pretty standard for Bleached Brunettes. Pass it on. Help free Blondes from this forced relationship with Bleached Brunettes. Tell Dumb Bleached Brunette jokes to Bleached Brunettes and see if they laugh when the joke is in their name. Not.
Posted by Carol E. Cox  in  Canada  on  Tue Aug 08, 2006  at  01:32 PM
Who can believe this guy he can't even spell blonde right. It has an E on the end. And this is coming from a blondE. Go back to school and do some more research. Don't worry I've already did my part, I've had a blonde daughter. So who's genes are dying out!!
Posted by Natalie  in  New Hampshire  on  Wed Oct 25, 2006  at  12:39 AM
first of all scarlett johansen is not a real blond and she is jewish so she is not even caucasian for those who dont know difference between race and ethnicity. yeah obviously the blonde gene will die out if dark people keep mixing in. that is a no-brainer dude. so do your part and introduce anti miscegenation laws like in the old days. maybe it will help
Posted by jay  in  new york  on  Fri Jun 22, 2007  at  08:01 AM
marilyn monroe was WHITE BLONDE as a child, her hair became dirty blonde as she grew up so she bleached it but she was still fair so get your facts right. If you want proof just look it up on the internet. My mum and dad are both dark yet they had a blonde blue eyed daughter and 2 dark kids. just goes to show the genes stronger than you think.
Posted by karmie  in  northumberland  on  Sat Nov 24, 2007  at  01:27 PM
One-third of Caucasian children under the age of seven are Blonde. Almost every one of those children becomes a Brunette just like Marilyn did and according to Clairol 40% of Caucasian women in North America are Bleached Brunettes just like Marilyn.

Hands off the name Blonde if you're bleached because Blonde means something already; it means the Blonde people.
Posted by Carol E. Cox  in  Vancouver Canada  on  Sat Nov 24, 2007  at  10:09 PM
And when I say the Blonde people I mean the men, the women and the children. Blonde is a GOOD name and it belongs to a lot of very young children for a little while. Isn't that a good enough reason to protect it?

If you don't care about a tiny genetic minority group being bullied and degraded by a forced association perhaps you might consider how all the little Blonde children feel when they see and hear all the degraded Bleached Brunettes running around oinking and squealing Blonde, Blonder, Blondest.

Oh and by the way blondfrombirth was started by a man and men are Blond, without the 'e'. Women are Blonde with the 'e'.
Posted by Carol E. Cox  in  Vancouver Canada  on  Sat Nov 24, 2007  at  10:17 PM
My mother is a natural blonde and my father is dark I come out in between in a shade of redish brown with light brown eyes and light olive complexion yes blondes can be atractive but I found that Gina Lollobrigida was far more atractive in many ways..the same with a french actor Alain Delon dark hair blue eyes and the most beautiful perfect features you ever seen on a man..and italian actress Pier Angeli she was a very delicate looking brunette..the reason why they are always flogging the blondes is for them not to be lost among the many atractives and sexy brunettes..
Posted by Arnna  in  melbourne  on  Tue Jan 01, 2008  at  12:00 AM
What is the difference between dark blonde and light brown hair?

I know this is a daft question, but is there an objective way of saying whether a person has dark blond or light brown hair?

Because sometimes I hear a girl described as a blond, when her hair just looks brown to me. Then again, I've said that a guy was dark blond, and been told no, his hair is really light brown.

Can anyone provide a photo of someone with dark blond hair and one with light brown hair so I can see what the difference is?
Posted by Peter Monroe  on  Thu Sep 11, 2008  at  06:24 PM
With the amount of illegal and legal uneducated Mexicans (the educated ones do nt car to come over here) coming into our once well educated whre the immigrants actually wanted to becoime Americans and speak english- we will have less and less blondes and more and more dark haried uneducated iindividuals that cost our government and tax payers billions of dollors each year to support with minimal return from their working efforts in the fields and labor.
Posted by laura  in  San Diego  on  Thu Jan 08, 2009  at  02:43 PM
not the bottle blondes we'll be around forever!!! yay!!most of the blondes now are bottle anyway!! they won't tell you who they are!!! just take those products off the market for a few months and watch the scarves and hats become more popular!
Posted by mary rose  in  u.s.a.  on  Thu Jan 08, 2009  at  04:39 PM
Funny... they've been saying this about redheads for a long time too. Never made sense... recessive does not mean "dying out."
Posted by Kitty  in  Oceanside  on  Thu Jan 08, 2009  at  09:17 PM
As long as Clairol is in business there will never be a shortage of blondes
Posted by pinto  in  pensacola fl  on  Thu Jan 08, 2009  at  09:43 PM
thanks,pinto and kitty for backing me up!! iv'e been every hair color except black.my ex sis in law has been "blonde" for twenty years,,she's mexican.any one can be blonde!
Posted by mary rose  in  u.s.a.  on  Thu Jan 08, 2009  at  10:53 PM
it will fade, unless if they fuck eachother lol then it wont. common sense.
Posted by well  in  earth  on  Sat Jan 31, 2009  at  08:50 AM
well in earth: sex does not fade hair color from a bottle only washing it alot does that..your dumb..permanent hair color (from a bottle )has to grow outaand be cut off or dyed another color..
Posted by mary rose  in  u.s.a.  on  Sat Jan 31, 2009  at  08:55 PM
In a book I've been reading, it actually says people are drawn to blondes because of high fertility- that's actually what blonde hair signifies. The average blonde haired female (and I stress average, this mold does not apply to all) has more of a capacity to reproduce than any other hair color, and this makes her subconsciously desirable to the male population. After the blonde has a child, however, her hair begins to darken and there are few natural blondes after 30. Also declining levels of estrogen cause blondes to darken over time- particularly after menopause. If you wanna read more, check out pg. 159 of "Why men don't listen and women cant read maps"
Posted by jsim  on  Tue Feb 24, 2009  at  11:06 AM
wow!! thats cool jsim. i realize that mine and other comments here have benn about bottle blondes and is not right , i'm just figuring that at this sight no one expects seriuos comments so i just went a long with it thanks for an intelligent answer.
Posted by mary rose  in  u.s.a.  on  Tue Feb 24, 2009  at  01:59 PM
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