It is one of the strangest eye colors, and it is surrounded by a lot of curious facts.
A person’s gaze is the first thing we pay attention to when we interact with them for the first time. It is something instinctive: our eyes will meet those of the other to, from that visual reference point, connect with the emotions and feelings of the other ex.
Taking that into account, it is normal for people with green eyes to attract our attention. Such a small part of the face is capable of attracting so much attention that it is common to see fathers and mothers calculate the chances of having children with this trait.
But green eyes are not only pure aesthetics, because they are also fascinating in other aspects.
Fun facts about people with green eyes
Below you can find what are the characteristics of people with green eyes that make this trait so mysterious and fascinating.
1. The tone of the iris is one of the rarest
It is estimated that only 2% of the world’s population has green eyes, which means that only those with scarlet, black or red eyes are less numerous. This can be for a number of reasons.
On the one hand, it is very possible that only a sufficient number of people with green eyes appeared in relatively recent times, a few thousand years ago, which means that they have not had time to mix much with DNA chains of all human beings . It is estimated that the mutation that produced this characteristic appeared in tribes of central or northern Europe at some point in the Bronze Age.
On the other hand, the chances of having a boy or girl with green eyes only exceed 50% if both parents also have this trait. If only one of them has it, they drop below 40%.
2. This trait first appeared in Europe
In addition to the rareness of this trait, it is estimated that more than half of people with green eyes live in Europe. Hungary and especially Iceland are the places where this physical feature is most abundant. Outside of this continent, some ethnic groups belonging to the Indo-Iranian area also have high concentrations of people with green eyes, although it is not very well known if they have a common ancestor or the gene responsible for that tonality appeared in isolation in Asia.
Even rarer cases with green-eyed families are found in some areas of North Africa traditionally occupied by the Berber ethnic group, such as the Rif region in Morocco, Kabylia, in Algeria, or Liquian in China.
3. Green irises take months to appear
Interestingly, it is extremely rare for newborn babies to already have green eyes. Normally, those who get to have them of that color do so after reaching their first year of life, and on the day of delivery they are blue or grayish. This is believed to be due to a certain genetic propensity for melanin in the eyes to distribute according to specific developmental rhythms.
4. They have the most attractive eye color
Most studies based on questionnaires show that, at least for Western society, green eyes are the most aesthetic and attractive with blue eyes in second place. Perhaps the fact that they are rare can influence this, since the law of scarcity tells us that we tend to value more what is difficult to find.
5. Its coloration is not due to the pigments of the iris
Although it may seem strange, people with green eyes do not have green eyes because they have pigments of those shades located in those membranes. In fact, the amount of melanin, the substance that gives color to parts of the body, is relatively low compared to those with dark irises. If we had to attribute a color to the iris, it would be more similar to yellow.
What happens is that the shape of the eye and the lensing effect that it produces cause certain wavelengths of light to filter as it passes through this organ. It is something similar to what happens when sunlight enters the atmosphere, making the sky appear blue or pink depending on how far away the sun is at each moment of the day.
6. In the past they were discriminated against
Although today it is considered an attractive feature, there were moments in history in which the rare and mysterious character of this tonality was what attracted the most attention. As a consequence, many women were considered suspected of being witches if they had green eyes. If this was added to the presence of red hair, the combination could easily lead to execution.
- Frost, P. (2011). “Why do Europeans have so many colored hair and eyes?” (cogweb.ucla.edu). Communication Studies, University of California, Los Angeles.
- White, D., Rabago-Smith, M. (2011). Genotype – phenotype associations and humaneye color. Journal of Human Genetics.