With ever-ascending stress, we all need some time out to relax and rejuvenate our bodies and minds. Islands seem to be the perfect escape from our stressful lives. The image of an island itself is quite calming and peaceful. While islands are commonly seen as just a tourist destination, they can sometimes be as mysterious as the water that surrounds them. From strange genetic mutations to never-before-seen flora and fauna, islands can always surprise us with their unusual ecosystems. Keeping that in mind, we have compiled a list of ten fascinating islands that you may have never heard of.
1. The people of Solomon Island have a gene which gives their hair a blond hue despite of their dark skin.
About 10% of the population of this South Pacific island is born with naturally blonde hair. This strange phenomenon was thought of as a mutation due to a rich fish diet. Some inhabitants also relate it to an inherited gene from the European explorers and traders. However, research conducted by Stanford University denied those claims. According to the research, the gene that caused blonde hair in Europeans was very different from the one responsible for the blonde color in these islanders. The research included studying saliva samples of about a 1,000 islanders. It was then found that the cause of this strange blonde color was due to a gene called “TYRP1.” (source)
2. There is an island in Japan which is populated by rabbits. Due to the absence of any natural predator, these rabbits are very friendly and tame.
Okunoshima, an island located in the inland sea of Japan in the city of Takehara, Hiroshima, is home to thousands of bunnies. The island is a popular destination for animal lovers. Tourists from around the world are allowed to interact with the rabbits. The absence of any natural predators has resulted in bloom in the rabbit population. Although it might seem like a haven for rabbits, the history of the island is rather unpleasant. The island was once the location for the production of chemical weapons. During WW 2 the Imperial Japanese Army initiated a secret program to develop chemical weapons. The rabbits, perhaps, were used as test subjects in these laboratories. Eventually as the war came to an end, this program was shut down. The government has since banned any other animals from the island but the rabbits. (1, 2)
3. Pheasant Island, an island located on the French and Spanish border, changes its sovereignty every six months.
With only 200 meters long and 40 meters wide, Pheasant Island remains one of the most interesting places on Earth. This tiny island is located on the Bidasoa River on the French and Spanish border. According to the Treaty of Pyrenees, the island is under the joint sovereignty of France and Spain. The uninhabited island switches its sovereignty every six months. From February 1 to July 31, it falls under the governance of Spain and from August 1 to January 30, it is administered by France. (source)