Saturday, October 15, 2005

So am I a Viking?

I’m English and I look like a storybook Viking or Saxon. (OK Span! I admit it!) Remember those old Ladybird histories? Great illustrations. Well I’m like one of those. But without the horns on the hat.

Yeah and? OK being blonde is not so unusual given our Viking heritage as a nation. Lots of English people have Norse genes as well as Saxon, Angle, Jute - whatever - there’s lots of tall blondeness in our national make-up. But the trouble lies in my understanding of genetics.

My mum and dad have brown eyes and dark hair. I have blonde hair and bluey grey eyes. I did O’level biology and it all seemed very clear then. Brown eyes, dominant. Blue eyes, recessive. But it does lead to talk when one looks so unlike one’s parents. Especially one’s dad.

So why are people so censorious when blue eyes show up in children of brown-eyed people? Clearly it ‘s because genes for blue eyes are lurkers - recessive genes staying in the background until a certain combination of genetic material occurs - a contribution of a recessive blue-eyed gene from each brown-eyed parent.
So even though genes producing brown eyes are dominant, it’s more common for brown-eyed parents to have blue-eyed children than for blue-eyed parents to have brown-eyed children.

Blood groups are fun too. If I look like a Viking, what would you expect my blood group to be?

I’m A+ as it happens.

According to the National Blood Service, the O group is the oldest of the blood groups. Back in the Stone Age, everyone would have been O and today it's still the most common group in the UK, especially in the North of England. Over in Central and South America and the USA most people are O too. The fact that anyone can receive O blood reflects the fact that all other blood groups are derived from it.

Group A is the second oldest blood group, appearing around 25,000 - 15,000BC, when larger human settlements first appeared as farming developed. You'll find a lot of A in Central and Eastern Europe. It's the commonest group in Norway, Denmark, Austria and Armenia.

If you're looking for group B, then try the Chinese or Asian communities, where around a quarter of all people share this blood group. It emerged between 15,000 and 10,000BC as tribes migrated from Africa to Europe, Asia and the Americas and mingled with other populations.

The newest and rarest group, AB, only appeared between 1000 and 500 years ago, and is believed to have occurred as a response to the mixing of existing blood groups on a major scale. In Japan, China and Pakistan around 10% of the population boast this rarest of blood groups.

So yup! Ladybird had me right! I am a throw back. Officially. Anyone for a spot of pillage and plunder? Span?

14 Comments:

Blogger Span Ows said...

Sounds good to me - fancy some rape?...meaning of course Lophius piscatorius...monkfish or angler fish in English and rape in Spanish(pronounced rahpé)...what? what did you think I meant?

Tell you what, I'm A+ as well, which is a positive...boom boom!

You Viking you, well I'm sure I'm directly descended from the mighty Wessex dynasty, Alfred the Gray, Edward the Elder, Athelstan and finally Edgar (son of Athestan's brother Edmund) King of all England in the mid 8th Century (+/- 960BC) who kicked out the Vikings. ...well actully i could also be from some bastard from France (as it's called today)! Family tree so far goes back to +/- 1400...mostly in the west country.

I also have blue/grey eyes but dark curly (thinning hair)...not that you care!!!!! but my brother is fair haired and was very blonde until about 5 years old when lack of washing darkened it somewhat.

All that aside...pillage sounds great, you blow the horn and I'll come where you want me to.


...did I just say that?!!!!!!

Sat Oct 15, 11:41:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Span Ows said...

P.S. if you google "sermon of the wolf" (wulfestan) you should find the bebs Anglo Saxon history all about England, Bede etc.

Sat Oct 15, 11:47:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Ah Wulfstan, Ethelred's spin doctor!

Have you read Michael Wood's "In Search of England"? It's the historical reality behind Englishness.

Sun Oct 16, 11:11:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

You rugger buggers are all the same - have horn, will travel!

Sun Oct 16, 11:12:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Span Ows said...

2 things...first there's a deleted message...maybe you posted something rude that would be out of character..leave the rude and the lewd to me!!

secondly,jusr rereading this I put Alfred the Gray...GRAY??? Of course you KNOW I meant 'Great'.

Sun Oct 16, 06:07:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Not everyone's as nice as you Span! Keep up the good work!

Sun Oct 16, 08:43:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to know exactly how grey eyes are inherited? Is it predominantly a recessive gene from Norway, Scandinavia?

Sat Apr 08, 09:21:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Doktor Skum said...

Gav, Eyes. Genes. It goes like this:

You inherrit a gene for eye colour from both your mother and your father (of course!). We shall call one gene (B) and the other gene (b).

Neither gene can function on its own, it needs to be paired with another B or b gene. This occcurs when daddies sperm enters mummies egg. Once paired up the gene makes eye colour.


Now, big B is half the the instructions on how to make brown eyes and little b is half the instructions on how to make blue eyes.

When genes get together due to nobbing, each partner produces a B or a b. (Note, some people, like both your mum and your dad, can produce both B and b, whereas others can only produce B and others only b)

So we have a situation wher we can define four different pssible pairings. These are:

BB, Bb, bB and bb.

If you have BB your eyes will be brown. If you have bB or Bb then the brown gene, B, dominates the recessive blue gene, b, and your eyes will be brown. If you have bb then your eyes will be blue.

So, I guess that your mum and dad are both Bb or bB and are capable of producing both blue and brown eyed children.


My old man is tall, blonde and blue eyed. My mother is dark and brown eyed. I had white hair as a child but it is now dark and my eyes are dark brown. My name ends in _ton implying a saxon place name. I am from yorkshire so i probably have viking blood.

My mrs ancestors were german. Or prussian aristocracy to be more precise. They were heavily involved in the attempt on Hitlers life. Cool!

Thu Sep 14, 06:27:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous Son of Scum said...

Well My ancestors were scum. Fucked up all in Europe. Who were they? They were the metal kings!

Sun Dec 30, 03:10:00 PM GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

Your mother and father may have brown eyes from your Saxon heritage. The original Saxons were brown-haired brown-eyed people. Remember, brown hair/eyes originated in Europe. Other races have black hair/eyes.

The viking look is nice. My father and his entire family has that look. I have auburn hair and hazel eyes.

Tue Aug 11, 02:49:00 AM GMT+1  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still laughing at "nobbing"

Mon Oct 17, 03:26:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's red hair that in Norse mythology was a Viking male dominant trait(like Thor). FYI...the "British" did not defeat the Vikings, since the British by that time was mostly of Scandinavian heritage. Oh and I can trace my Viking roots to Harold "Fair-Haired" of Norway...So get it right and don't claim "Viking" heritage unless you're certain you can!

Tue Feb 21, 02:44:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Shell bu said...

OOOOHHH SHIRTY SHIRTY PANTS. I'M A VIKING AND SO IS MY WIFE. I actually do come from them so ner ner ner ner ner Anom. Also found nobbing funny.

Sat Sep 15, 08:14:00 AM GMT+1  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Corder in FL,USA. I have blonde hair and reddish beard. I always thought I was Irish since I'm so pale. But after learning more about the norse I wondered and researched my surname. I found Corder showed up in UK with the Normans in 1066. Normans were vikingr who conquered pretty much all of the french coast and I think paris at one point. France let them legally keep normandy( land of northmen ) as a payment for keeping other vikingr (danes, swedes) away. Vikingr names changed with their new territories so Corder doesn't show up anywhere before Normandy. But here is how most think the name roughly evolved from Norway to Scottland then Vikingr Dublin back to Scottish Isles and finally Normandy - Odr' , Ottar, Mac Oittar, Mac Oidder, Cotter, Corter- Corder.

Fri Apr 18, 09:41:00 PM GMT+1  

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