Scottish redheads like Isla Fisher may have the weather to thank for their locks. Photo: Getty Images

"In Scotland, there is no such thing as bad weather - only the wrong clothes," quips Scot-born comedien Billy Connolly.

But a report from the UK Telegraph says that not only does Scotland get the brunt of bad weather - but it may be responsible for the vibrant red hair shade the world associates with the Scottish and Irish.

Based on the university papers of 26 year-old PhD genetics student Emily Pritchard from the MRC Human Genetics Unit at the Western General Hospital, Pritchard's thesis is based on the evolution of man from Africa. People with a genetic strain for red hair had fair skin that couldn't handle the hot temperatures and intense sun exposure of the continent without suffering burned and cancerous consequences - which prevented them from surviving.

While humans are thought to have evolved from Africa between one and two million years ago, red hair only emerged as a more common trait some 20,000 years ago - which is after redheads made it to cooler and wetter European climates. The red-headed gene pool who experienced the more temperate summers and longer, colder winters of Scotland were better able to survive and successfully reproduce in the environment.

Pritchard tells the UK Times that her paper is based on "speculation rather than scientific study, but it's plausible."

The scientific studies may not exist yet, but the red-headed prevalence among Scottish and Irish people is inarguable; eight percent of the population has red hair, while the rest of Europe only sees one percent of natural red in the mix.

Meanwhile, red hair is such a trademark of celebrity models like Maggie Rizer, that changing a hair color can pitch the fashion world into a frenzy.