Q: I know green eyes are the rarest eye color. I am all-Sicilian and I, as well as my dad’s mom, have them. What countries have the most green-eyed people? My cousin did some research and found Sicilians are made up of many nationalities: Norman, French, Spanish, Greek, Arabic and North African.
Green-eyed monster, O’Fallon.
A: With the Jimmy Dorsey classic now the latest earworm in my head (thank you very much), I’ll try to narrow the many possibilities.
According to most experts I’ve found, green eyes — which only an estimated 2 percent of people possess — are thought to be most common in Europe, particularly those of Celtic (think of those red-haired, green-eyed Irish lasses) and German ancestry. In Britain, for example, a 2014 study found that green was more prevalent than brown — 30 percent to 22 percent — although most were blue, 48 percent. (An estimated 55 percent of all people have brown eyes.) Green is also common in Iceland, The Netherlands, Scotland, Estonia and Scandinavia
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But with humans always on the move, you can find them most anywhere. For example, they are supposedly rare in Asia and Africa. Yet there is at least one village in Western China where many have blond hair and green eyes. DNA testing found the peope were of Caucasian descent, the theory being that a Roman army settled there long ago and bred. Proof of green eyes apparently has been found in Siberia during the Bronze Age, some 4,000 years ago. So my best conjecture for you is a heavy northern European influence, but you might want to have one of those ancestry DNA tests to make sure.
I’d get into the fascinating science behind eye color, but that is a column and a half in itself, so may I suggest www.sciencealert.com/this-is-how-blue-eyes-get-their-colour. May I also suggest peeking in on www.greeneyesproject.com, a photographic homage to people like Tom Cruise, Madonna, Derek Jeter and everyone else with “arguably one of the most mysterious and entrancing physical traits.”
What former St. Louis resident wrote a play called “Green Eyes”?
Answer to Sunday’s trivia: Do you like to read in bed? Then you can impress your friends by calling yourself a librocubucularist, according to writer Christopher Morley in his novel “The Haunted Bookshop.” It’s a mash-up of Latin words for book (liber) and bedroom (cubiculum). But you probably knew that if you played the 1981 Genius Edition of Trivial Pursuit, which included it as a question.